Whenever I pass a certain sign in my town, I’m puzzled. It says, “Slow Church in Session” but I never see one for the fast church. I understand the “Slow Children” signs, because the quick children can easily escape traffic, but how likely is it for a church to wander into the road?
I would like to have my own warning sign that says, “Slow poet waking.” The ambiguity in the lack of punctuation precisely matches my meaning. Like Roethke, I take my waking slow. Mine is with black coffee. Still half in dreams, I try to write a poem before I do anything else. It’s best to avoid me at that time of day. I am a slow poet with a ragged net trying to capture wafting images.
I should also be avoided after a morning walk in the far field, when I hurry, breathless, invigorated, with poetic images flocking and squawking like quarreling birds, to try and write them down.
Those who know tiptoe as I wake,
bearlike, shaking off pesky dreams,
a poem fragment buzzing
maddeningly around my mind.
I sip at poetry till it cools in my cup
as birds beckon in the far field.
I know I must look in the sunlight
for the words that haunt my thoughts,
but stay in the cool cave, reclining
on a rustling litter of ideas
in the comforting dark, fearing
not infinity, but the impending now.