William Matthews

(November 11, 1942 - November 12, 1997 / Cincinnati, Ohio)

A Poetry Reading At West Point


I read to the entire plebe class,
in two batches. Twice the hall filled
with bodies dressed alike, each toting
a copy of my book. What would my
shrink say, if I had one, about
such a dream, if it were a dream?

Question and answer time.
"Sir," a cadet yelled from the balcony,
and gave his name and rank, and then,
closing his parentheses, yelled
"Sir" again. "Why do your poems give
me a headache when I try

to understand them?" he asked. "Do
you want that?" I have a gift for
gentle jokes to defuse tension,
but this was not the time to use it.
"I try to write as well as I can
what it feels like to be human,"

I started, picking my way care-
fully, for he and I were, after
all, pained by the same dumb longings.
"I try to say what I don't know
how to say, but of course I can't
get much of it down at all."

By now I was sweating bullets.
"I don't want my poems to be hard,
unless the truth is, if there is
a truth." Silence hung in the hall
like a heavy fabric. My own
head ached. "Sir," he yelled. "Thank you. Sir."


Anonymous submission.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

Do you like this poem?
2 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Read poems about / on: truth, dream, silence, poetry, time, thanks, poem

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (A Poetry Reading At West Point by William Matthews )

Enter the verification code :

There is no comment submitted by members..

Trending Poets

Trending Poems

  1. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  3. Alone, Edgar Allan Poe
  4. Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
  5. Dreams, Langston Hughes
  6. Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
  7. If, Rudyard Kipling
  8. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
  9. Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Dylan Thomas
  10. If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda

Poem of the Day

poet Richard Lovelace

Tell me not (Sweet) I am unkind,
That from the nunnery
Of thy chaste breast and quiet mind
To war and arms I fly.

True, a new mistress now I chase,
...... Read complete »

   

New Poems

  1. Mona Lisa Canvas, Gilbert Ortega
  2. Passion Play, Gilbert Ortega
  3. The Gatekeeper part 2 (In memory of Edga.., Gilbert Ortega
  4. AGAINST FORGETTING, George Dee Vuy
  5. The Gatekeeper part 1 (In memory of Edga.., Gilbert Ortega
  6. For Jennifer, Gilbert Ortega
  7. Gilded Thorns, Gilbert Ortega
  8. Journey of death, ramesh rai
  9. Green cypress hills…, Mark Heathcote
  10. Ο χορός των Ερινύων, Elena Ioannou
[Hata Bildir]