A Poet’s Role

For Carl Sandburg


A poet’s role is clear, even obvious, really,
when you consider the role of any storyteller.

A poet’s role is to sleep in the evenings
or the day—whichever they prefer;

to work, to toil with the lowest, the least,
the best of men, and the rest of them;

to carefully examine and speculate over
the dirt between the fingernails of society,

to weep with mothers and fathers of loss;
mourn with friends and even foes.

A Poet’s role is to astound with particularly
placed words, penned with some peculiarity;

to drench the dark we swallow in new light and
reveal a new path for the directionless heart;

to straighten the portrait of a beggar living
in filth, and reveal the world’s cyclical cynicism.

A poet’s role is simple: make the ordinary
extraordinary by any means necessary.

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