Heads Up poetry column: Will

A Poetry Column By Philip Appleman

WILL

More or less sound

of mind and memory,

I venture this testament.

1

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,

passionate, irresistible.

Gather them in

with pleasure.

2

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,

for better.

In witness whereof, this day

I set my hand—

and hope.