July 17, 2010

Jeff Knight

KNIVES OF THE POETS

The philosophers keep hammering, each
to each. Editors choose scissors. Critics
fancy the blunt: crowbars, mallets, and such.
Poets like knives. It starts at about six
in a fury of initials, hearts, and
arrows jack-knifed into the flesh of trees
(ash, sometimes; mostly elders). Understand
that aimless whittling comes next, and will lead
to the real work: Dr. Williams and his
scalpel, Anne Sexton’s special set of trick
knives, complete with weighted hafts and circus
music, William Blake’s cutlass, red and slick
as paint that paints demons. Parry, jab, thrust.
The world is our whetstone. We shall not rust.

from Rattle #32, Winter 2009
Tribute to the Sonnet