David Lehman

(June 11, 1948 / New York City)

January 1 - Poem by David Lehman

Some people confuse inspiration with lightning
not me I know it comes from the lungs and air
you breathe it in you breathe it out it circulates
it's the breath of my being the wind across the face
of the waters yes but it's also something that comes
at my command like a turkey club sandwich
with a cup of split pea soup or like tones
from Benny Goodman's clarinet my clarinet
the language that never fails to respond
some people think you need to be pure of heart
not true it comes to the pure and impure alike
the patient and impatient the lovers the onanists
and the virgins you just need to be able to listen
and talk at the same time and you'll hear it like
the long-delayed revelation at the end of the novel
which turns out to be something simple a traumatic
moment that fascinated us more when it was only
a fragment an old song a strange noise a mistake
of hearing a phone that wouldn't stop ringing


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Read poems about / on: inspiration, people, song, wind, january, time, heart, water



Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003



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