Guest Poet Rachel Dacus

Ode to the Pen

Tall and slim, inky-hearted reed,
you attempt to shape life's secret surges,
but you are only a fountain of folly,
your substance nothing but breath.
A long, narrow road is your path
to search for the sun.
You flow forward bleeding
a meandering line
slim as a desert road.
Weaving fragile nets,
you think to capture the world.
Thank you for phenomenal faith
in my imagination,
O avid amanuensis,
alphabetizer of longing.
You are one soldier
in the army I will need
for the territory I want to cover.
Faithful follower, sometimes I have a whim
to reverse our order and let you lead.
Once you took me down a hidden path
into a thicket, where I came into
a hushed clearing full of dusty shadows.
At the center stood my heart's desire.
He turned and looked at me
with eyes that startled words
into a flock of rising birds.

January, 1999

Rachel Dacus's Questions:

1.  Does the sequence of images keep the reader moving expectantly through the poem?

2.  Does the poem achieve enough freshness and surprise to make the concept of an ode or poem of praise seem relevant?

Correspond with Rachel Dacus at
with your ideas about this poem.

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