The Innisfree Poetry Journal

by Anne Harding Woodworth


. . . true is the love bestowed upon the choicest

songs of our "single-poem poets."

                        —Charles F. Richardson (1851-1913)


I'm in my nineties and would'ya believe it?—

            This is the only poem I ever wrote.

Done just about everything a guy can do in all these years:

                        put cherry bombs in mailboxes

and spent a night in jail, seen twenty-three countries,

                        learned ancient Greek, Italian, and German,

            walked in rice paddies, flown solo, married Rosey, had a little boy.

                        Why, I even watched the U.S. soccer boys beat England

                                                in the '50 World Cup. I've skied Alta,

laid me down in front of the White House, spent another night in jail,

                        buried my Rosey, had a bypass,

                                                dated a cousin of Marilyn Monroe.

I've had thirteen jobs, been fired once, been in a hurricane,

and dug at Vindolanda, where I unearthed a strigil

            that's in the British Museum.

Still, I never wrote it down till now.

            And you're my witness, stranger, the others being gone

                                                who could've vouched for my poem,

even sung it, set it to a tune.

                                    Maybe you will love it—truly—

my "Star-Spangled Banner,"

                                    my "Old Oaken Bucket."

I'm a single-poem poet,

                        getting my song in just under the wire.

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