Why Write If You Can’t Write Anything Nice

Public Domain

NaPoWriMo: Day 1. Oh, grand. I’m supposed to write a poem a day in April and I’m already out of ideas. But that never stopped me before. So I’m going to start with a short rhymed–abacadaea–piece about something I heard listening to an audio of a Alexander McCall Smith story the other day. Is it true that W.H. Auden never put a space after his commas? I haven’t tried to confirm but it’s a lovely story.

Auden, I’ve heard, never left a space

After the comma; never a pulse

After the pause. Why no trace

Of breath where breath is signified?

Was he bidding us hurry, to race

On to his next thought, his next image:

Calling on the lagging reader to embrace

His poem as he did, flying from typewriter

To page, dissonant jazz beat, staccato grace.

And yes, I did leave spaces after my commas. Mama didn’t raise me to be a copy-cat.

So, Day 1, mutilated and done.

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