A Poetry Column By Philip Appleman
More or less sound
of mind and memory,
I venture this testament.
To the poets, in the perfect pitch
of your dangerous music,
I bequeath the fiber of quench and gravel,
slush and splinter, ratchet,
forage, and fizz.
And though you will face the welter
of blizzard, tussle, and brawl, the scud
of umbrage, rankle, and jeer,
I leave you the spell
of periwinkle, condor, daffodil, velvet,
trickle, rapture, and pine.
Even in the wasteland of writer’s block
and the quicksand of murderous deadlines,
you will find them sprouting up
somewhere in the sunshine: impudent, racy,
Gather them in
To the lovers, in the blooming
of each new moment, I hereby bequeath
a lifetime of honor and cherish.
I endow you with a glimpse of forsythia,
the shimmer of silk on a chair back,
the smell of bakeries at sunrise,
the secrets of sparrows.
And because there will be detours and chuckholes,
fields of nettles, and weeks of freezing rain,
I leave you my vested interest
in maple trees, jonquils, coral, and amber,
the flavor of raspberries, a taste of skin,
and yells of joy in troubled skies—
all of it for worse,
In witness whereof, this day
I set my hand—