Thursday, February 24, 2022

So Much Depends upon a Windowsill

My apologies from the outset.
I have not managed to tame this poem,
these scattershot words masquerading as art.
It started as a brief description

of an Italian man who carves a doll
for his granddaughter, freckled and five,
from a pine log found in the Apennines.
I grew distracted with that rhyme—

pine and Apennine—
and my mind wandered like an untethered balloon.
Suddenly I was in St. Peter’s Square
listening to the Pope, who I think is the cat’s pajamas,

as he spoke from the balcony to a gaggle of nuns
and pilgrims who had come to find solace
in papal blessings and a carafe of chianti.
I was already in Italy,

so I went with the flow and kept writing.
My Spanish is ramshackle roughshod,
and my Italian never materialized
from the quantum field of linguistic potential,

so my free verse ended in a poetic cul-de-sac.
I entered a Vatican museum but stumbled
into Dan Brown, who positively insisted
that I hold up a mirror so he could decipher

a seventeenth century manuscript on pigeons,
naturally written backwards in Portuguese,
and thereby save his latest girlfriend
from being blown up by the Illuminati.

At this point, my legerdemain with words failed,
and I decided that this poem
should be about a cat sunning himself in a window.
He’s content to leave well enough alone.

I mean, William Carlos Williams wrote
that so much depends upon a red wheelbarrow and chickens,
so why not a cat, sans pajamas, who believes
that so much depends upon a warm windowsill?

~William Hammett

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