Fears of an Insecure Poet
Many times, when I begin a poem
I shove down a dozen fears of inferiority
That cause my pen to stutter and skip
Like the needle of a busted turntable.
Am I worried that Billy Collins will
Bombard my house with spoiled fruit
Launched from the cherrywood trebuchet
He no doubt received as Poet Laureate?
I admit, the thought had occurred to me
As did the concern that Mary Oliver might haunt
The stack of unused notebooks I have not
Filled with poetry as beautiful as hers.
And let’s not linger on the nightmare
In which Robert Frost’s angry shade
Drags me through legendary, lyrical New England
Behind the phantom of that one impatient horse.
Isn’t the best way to handle a fear to ridicule it? I’ve heard you can’t be afraid of something you find ridiculous, though certain national politicians and also clowns seem to defy that particular rule.