Don’t Just Sit There

Don’t Just Sit There




as if the truth

was going to float down

from the rafters,

was going to insinuate itself

UP your nostrils

like some highly concentrated perfume,

or plop itself down onto your lap

for some quick and spontaneous

sexual activity.


It doesn’t happen that way.

Not ever.

And that’s not what we have for you anyway;

for what’s in here

could as well be a potpourri

of jumbled sound,

something to make you understand

that the nicer the words

the less they may very well mean,


the harder we try

to make ourselves clear,

(like some tinkley bell, for example)

the more we’re going to confuse.


So don’t depend on me:

I’ll twitter and tweet;

But it’s you who’s gotta

get up and dance.

So listen. And weep.

We’re none of us Homers here,

Not one of us, let’s admit.


It seems he’s always off somewheres else.



Aim at the target but don’t expect a Bull’s-Eye.

And don’t just lift a pen.

You’ve got to have something to say.


Ideas, like water, don’t flow up-hill.

They are not like some etching by Escher.

Such magic is always an illusion.

We are born in a gravitational field,

and cannot escape it,

whatever one’s imagination.

I was reading about Harlow Shapley, the astronomer,

who astutely expanded the Milky Way,

but mistook a million galaxies for smoky nebulae.

No; no one is perfect.

But if your pitcher is full

and you have the spiritual strength

of a Mahatma Gandhi

then you should pour a little into the cups

of your compatriots.


So there you are:

To share, and be shared with

is the best hope that the majority of us can ask for.

Mostly, though, the canniest choices

seem to have been sold already to the highest bidder,

and we are like looking for a comet through a dirty telescope.

Really! Who do you know that won the lottery?

And those gods: they never come by, or fill Our mugs, gratuitously,

like in Greek mythology.

More often they ( our mugs) are as empty as our pocket-books,

our brains, our prospects.

More often we are even out of ink

when it is really needed.