THE FIRST POEM

of the day will be
calm and gentle,
a stumbling, messy
easing in,
fingers gently on the typer,
becoming familiar with
the shape of the keys,
the sound of the hammer
and the form of the letters,
it will be a chance to breathe,
to gather some momentum,
to look at the blackbird
outside the window
and the sleeping cat
who care less for poetry
than the blackbird,
without fear of screwing up the
best poetry I have written.
the fingers will slowly gather speed
and the words will start to flow,
although they say little,
until the sound is hammer, hammer, hammer
and a dog barks to distract me
and I remember other things to be done
so I leave the first poem as it is
and it will also possibly be the last poem
of the day because life will not
always allow space for poems
and another day will pass without any
immortal remains.

  — Adrian Manning (b. 1967), English poet, currently residing in Spain. From Wretched Songs For Out Of Tune Musicians, copyright ©2003. Published by Bottle of Smoke Press. Reprinted without permission.