by David Kaplan
Carl Sandburg was once asked,
“How do you go about writing?”
He said, “I put one word in front
I, on the other hand, once asked
A Nobel Prize–winning astrophysicist,
“How is the orbit of a planet determined?”
He said, “Simple math!”
I wish I had the ability to be as glib
When it comes to finding the right word
To launch into the correct poetic orbit.
For me, writing a poem,
Is not as easy as putting one word
In front of another, and getting from the Earth
To the moon is beyond my comprehension.
Poetry requires, as in all things concise,
An extractor of unnecessary material.
A hand plane as sharp as a well-honed knife.
A set of whetted chisels of assorted sizes,
Sandpaper of finer and finer grit as in jeweler’s rouge.
And words that evoke
Deeper and deeper thought.