Remembering W H S


Come back once more and walk along the shore,
a Styrofoam container in your hand,
and search again through litter on the sand
for shells and seaweed. Start a new collection.

“There’s no such thing as rubbish,” you once said,
“only things we don’t know how to use.”
You had the gift for the unexpected find,
quick as a bird, knowing where to choose.

A gull creaked on its hinges overhead.
We talked of jacarandas and the trees
that come from other places, like ourselves.
“So much depends” (you smiled) “on overseas.”

You wrote with such a sparse sufficiency
and liked it when the bones began to show,
your poems spread before you like your life
neither rich nor poor nor fast nor slow …

Nothing can be useless to a poet;
that came last night in a dream.
Is it mine or am I quoting?

Every wise man has his problem,
every idiot his theme.

from The Other Side Of Things (River Road Press, 2008), Vivian Smith 2008, used by permission of the author and River Road Press

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