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Reply to the Question: "How Can You Become a Poet?"

Eve Merriam, 1916-1992
Reply to the Question: “How Can You Become a Poet?”

take the leaf of a tree
trace its exact shape
the outside edges
and inner lines
memorize the way it is fastened to the twig
(and how the twig arches from the branch)
how it springs forth in April
how it is panoplied in July
by late August
crumple it in your hand
so that you smell its end-of-summer sadness
chew its woody stem
listen to its autumn rattle
watch it as it atomizes in the November air
then in winter
when there is no leaf left
invent one

October 1, 2001
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