It could have been a little room like this—
four walls, a window, table, chair—tales
tell us he was stabbed and cursing when he died
a much regretted master of blank verse…
but that was long ago and this is now
in this little room, at this window
looking out upon the ruddy repetitions
of a blank brick wall across the way…
I count poetic feet by heart, bemoan
the calling of them, just as that Touchstone
who held a plumb line for The Bard:
“When a man’s verses cannot be read
nor a man’s good wit seconded…
it strikes a man more dead than
a great reckoning in a little room,” he said.
Even the graffitist, wily, undercover,
come by night to paint his colors on the wall
might lurk in shadowy corners come the dawn
to overhear effects of his calligraphies
or the forest with the falling tree and no one
there to hear—does it find the earthy thump
insisted by an inner ear dwelling in thought?
It all comes down to one small room
and looking out the window wondering why
why embark upon an expedition or ambition
surely doomed to disappointment or despair?
Wisdom has said: because it’s there.
Then, too, there is that falling tree…anything
to get out from under it, sound or no sound,
purely by dead reckoning, no guarantee.
A GREAT RECKONING IN A LITTLE ROOM