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Letter to Accompany a Submission of Verse to Caravel

by Knute Skinner

‘We do not use nature poetry, poems
about scenic wonders, tourist-
viewpoints poems, or poems exclusively
about the poet’s inner self.”
-Caravel: A Magazine of Verse.

Dear Editor, herewith is an example
of verse. What’s more I’ll have a further sample
that I can send you at another time-
just as soon as I can get a nicer rime
than cess for bless, for I’m afraid that cess
suggests a nature image more or less,
and such a lapse of taste will never do!
I am the ideal contributor for you,
for I can scarcely stand the thought of spring
and feel disgust for any growing thing.
Once as a child I watched my neighbor garden
(I had to use that word, I beg your pardon)
and since that vulgar contact with the dirt
I’ve let my shuttered bedroom heal the hurt.
I’ve seen some scenic wonders I suppose
but only through the cracks between my toes
as I imagine spread upon my wall
the alpine route of ancient Hannibal
or the Red Sea parting for the Israelites.
I read all day and write my verse at nights
so couldn’t have a viewpoint if I tried
anything like a tourist’s! I’m supplied
with subjects from the books upon my shelf,
and what is more I have no inner self.


Taken from ‘Sticks and Stones’ (1989), page 21.

Knute Skinner

The Servant