Poet’s Block

Poet’s Block

An image of a weathered seashell
Keeps my monitor from standing blank
Like a cruel mimic of the blank document
That repels my words
They fall from it
Veer around its margins
Break their brittle syllables against the screen

Which is once more a seashell
I press my ear to the shell’s flat shadow
To hear my own intent
The low tidal ebb of phrase
Whispered in computer current
But there is only hum
And static-snap
And the odd warmth of waiting

The shell’s soul was stolen
Taken from the ocean
In proof of all the wisdoms
That counseled fear of cameras
Because nothing whispers from an image
Nothing breathes
And yet

And yet all is there
Every conch curve
And shaded whorl
And all my words that failed
To echo the ocean
Or uncover the cloud shrouded sky
Or mention how snails are never simple

Or charge their syllables with metaphor
To mean more than a word
More than a blank screen
More than a poem
I haven’t written
Lost for days
In the image of a seashell

Published in The Journal of Liberal Arts and Education Winter 2010