Sunday, April 10, 2005

Poem of the day: Richard Cecil

Today's poem, another sonnet by a former teacher. There's a story behind this former teacher, which he probably doesn't know--and probably won't since the likelihood of him finding it here is zilch. My junior year in college, Richard Cecil came to my school as a visiting professor to fill in for my regular professor, John Bensko. John Bensko was the coolest professor one could possibly have. He was incredibly tall, maybe 6'4" or so with long hair that often dangled in front of his face. He exuded writerliness which is what I had been wanting in a teacher my whole life. But then Richard Cecil showed up and he taught me how to write. He taught me how to take all those crazy images and words in my head and put them into lines on a page in a way that would make them transferrable to another person. And though I may not write poetry anymore, I am forever grateful for what he has taught me.

I chose this poem because I think it fits nicely with the Saturday one. And have I mentioned how fun it is to read everyone's choices? I loved Scrivener's for today.

Fame and Fortune Cookie

"You've got talent but you lack ambition"
is not exactly what I'd call a fortune,
but as I hold it up to candlelight
I wag my head and chortle—That's me all right!
Whoever stuffed this message in my cookie
must have known it would be served to me
instead of to some self-promoting jerk
with zero skill, but lots of will to work:
someone like youknowwho or whatshisname
who plugs away so constantly for fame
they have to ask the waitress for a fork
to shovel up their sweet and sour pork,
while I, with chopsticks, can pick up a dime.
Their fortune reads, "You never waste your time."

Cecil's most recent book