Kite: A Poem by David Rogers


You take your poem too seriously
because you think you are a serious poet.
That is a mistake:
you may or may not be a good poet
which is not the same at all
as being serious—the mediocre
are often the most serious people—
but why should you try to act
as if the poem matters so much?
It is only what you thought
or believed you thought
on a given day when others
were watching birds or flying kites
on clear blue afternoons,
a slow, dependable wind
high up in the sky, so the kite
keeps its steady tug at the string
which curves away and up
like the lines that in books about Einstein
illustrate the shape
space itself may take.
The immense ball of string
you never dared to measure
winds out and out
until you can barely see
the tiny speck of kite, then not at all
without borrowing the binoculars
of a bird watcher
until the string reaches
the last loop around the naked spool
and the bird watchers
take back their glasses and wander away
in search of other spectacles
and you are left alone again
with your idea, holding
the over-stretched string
of a kite you can’t even see,
yours alone
the awful decision to reel it in
or let go:
Poet, go fly a kite.