How to be a Poet (to remind myself)

Make a place to sit down.
Sit down. Be quiet.
You must depend upon
affection, reading, knowledge,
skill – more of each
than you have – inspiration,
work, growing older, patience,
for patience joins time
to eternity. Any readers
who like your poems,
doubt their judgement.

Breathe with unconditional breath
the unconditional air.
Shun electric wire.
Communicate slowly. Live
a three-dimensional life.
Stay away from screens.
Stay away from anything
that obscures the place it is in.
There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places
and desecrated places.

Accept what comes from silence.
Make the best you can of it.
Of the little words that come
out of the silence, like prayers
prayed back to the one who prays,
make a poem that does not disturb
the silence from which it came.

Wendell Berry

The Listener

of the night
awakening to darkness,
grasslands and farms.
Tree and crevice dweller,
gazing from church steeples,
nesting in barns and hollow spaces.

Submarine flyer,
air surfer to the fence post,
the hunting-by-sound perch,
to listen…to listen.
Head always still and
ears that can hear
the heartbeat of a mouse
– even under snow.

The stoop to eat prey whole,
regurgitator, pellet producer.
Pale plumage
and eyes dark as Black Holes
set in a snow-white face,
this Ghost Owl with
feathered edges
that flap and glide
in silence.

Field forager, woodside wanderer,
with eerie screech
turning into the dawn.
retreating into a new day.

Leigh Cook