epic verse

Words uttered by Heidi after she has begrudgingly agreed to lend her husband a pen:

Goodbye noble pen! Ah me, your purchase was bitterness!
Why did I, with such dutiful care, select you from among
the many inscribers of ink that rested in their caps
upon the shelf? If only you could live out your days until
the last drop of black liquid were delicately applied
to the fragile pages, being a delight to your caretaker,
unmatched in your value for the setting down of thoughts
in sweet correspondence and the making of lists.
Now it has befallen that your life must be brief and bitter.
Never again shall you return to the drawer of your fathers
to lie beside the sharpies and rulers and staples in good order.
Rather will you be misplaced and disregarded, dispersed
into the darkness of your own ink as so many pens
less effective than you have been before.

One response to “epic verse”

  1. With all my attention on Nemerov, I have failed to mention that I love this little composition. I didn’t realize we had such a poet among us! And I must say, I am quite on Heidi’s side. Being a pen person myself, I always feel a pang of anxiety when I find myself having to loan out a pen. It’s so hard to find a pen that writes well, that fits comfortably in the hand, with appropriate weight (both in the hand and on the paper), that puts the ink where and when I attempt to direct it. There is something intimate about the act of writing that requires a careful selection of instruments. It isn’t simply ink being placed on the paper; it is sometimes the very soul of the writer. The pen should not be an obstacle to such confessions of one’s being, but should facilitate the flow of spirit from heart to hand to paper. It must feel like an extension of the hand—or not even an extension—and glide over the page without any resistance, skipping, shaking or fuss. But a good pen does not merely obey; it must also be agreeable. It is not a servile attendant, but a loyal second-in-command, a co-conspirator, a faithful friend. A good pen can be more valuable than even comfortable underwear, the importance of which should never be underestimated. If Heidi had found such a pen, and has lost it through a most generous act… I mourn her loss. It is nothing short of tragedy. I do hope, Alan, that you returned the pen!

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