The Pen

The pen that told the truth
went into the washing machine
for its trouble. Came out
an hour later, and was tossed
in the dryer with jeans
and a western shirt. Days passed
while it lay quietly on the desk
under the window. Lay there
thinking it was finished and
without a single conviction
to its name. It didn’t have
the will to go on, even if it’d wanted.
But one morning, an hour or so
before sunrise, it came to life
and wrote:
“The damp fields asleep in moonlight.”
Then it was still again.
Its usefulness in this life
clearly at an end.

He shook it and whacked it
on the desk. Then gave up
on it, or nearly.
Once more though, with the greatest
effort, it summoned its last
reserves. This is what it wrote:
“A light wind, and beyond the window
trees swimming in the golden morning air.”

Always get the last word.

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He tried to write some more
but that was all. The pen
quit working forever.
By and by it was put
into the stove along with
other junk. And much later
it was another pen,
an undistinguished pen
that hadn’t proved itself
yet, that facilely wrote:
“Darkness gathers in the branches.
Stay inside. Keep still.”

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