by David Lehman
Thus what we’ve learned is that
our greatest poets were death-obsessed loners
who seldom enjoyed the pleasures of lovers
despite living in a constant state
of sexual excitation. They started as revolutionaries
and atheists, or they went to Harvard
and voted Republican and mowed the yard.
The night sky was starry and told them stories.
Many didn’t drive. They walked to work,
writing poems in their heads, or stayed
in their rooms, stayed out of trouble, prayed
to a god no longer believed in. They felt like jerks
in company, not knowing how to behave.
They masturbated a lot, grew expert
in solitude, pain, the power of a primal hurt
and a witty epitaph on a well-kept grave.
Copyright © David Lehman