Poem: Not Empty

Not Empty

You sit at your diner, aware
that the first poem of the day was,
well, a bit shallow.
True enough. Clever enough
to keep around,
but little of what you are feeling
shows through.

The problem is, you are empty.
Flat. Something you feel often,
more your norm than anything else,
part and parcel of your depression,
an improvement from the dark times,
but still….

every day when you sit down to write
you are a little afraid
that you are empty, an abandoned barn
with the last bale of hay finally gone,
nothing left. that the manna
you have counted on for decades
has finally decided to leave
and all you will be is the shell you started as
when you began to write again so many years ago.

And then you sit down. You write anyway.
You look in the empty spaces,
and if there is nothing there, you remember what was.
You create your own manna,
draw pictures, remember, project, become.
The words come. They just come,
and somewhere you hear God chuckling, saying
“Silly boy. You of little faith.”
And you can’t help but chuckle with him
as you add the finishing line.

About this poem

When you write every day. Words come, even when don’t think anything is there. That is the power of discipline.

The picture of a barn not far from my home in West Pawlet, Vermont.


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