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Ars Poetica
Linda Pastan


   1. THE MUSE
You may catch
a butterfly
in a net
if you are swift enough

or if you keep perfectly still
perhaps it will land
on your shoulder.

Often
it is just
a moth.

   2.  WRITING
In the battle 
between the typewriter
and the blank page
a certain rhythm evolves,
not unlike the hoofbeats
of a horse groomed for war
who would rather be
head down, grazing.

   3.  REJECTION SLIP
Darling, though you know
I admire your many 
fine qualities
you don't fill all my needs
just now, and besides
there's a backlog
waiting to fit
in my bed.  

   4.  REVISION
The tree has been green
all summer but now
it tries red...copper...
even cold.  Soon
leaf after leaf
will be discarded,
there will be nothing
but bare tree, soon
it will be almost time
to start over again.

   5.  ARS POETICA
Escape from teh poem 
by bus, by streetcar--
any way you can,
dragging a suitcase
tied together with twine
in which youv'e stuffed
all your singular belongings.

Leave behind
a room
washed by the sun
or by moonlight.
There should be a chair
on which you've draped a coat
that will fit anyone.