Bruce Bennett


Will Nobody Stop the Poet?

Will nobody stop the poet?
He’s droning on and on.
The audience is yawning,
and some of them are gone.

A few are growing desperate;
I fear for someone’s life.
Will nobody stop the poet?
Can’t someone throw a knife?

Will nobody stop the poet?
I feel like I’m in Hell!
I’ll hear his voice forever.
Won’t someone ring a bell

Or cause some great commotion
to make this torment cease?
Is there no ear in Heaven?
Can there be no release?

Will nobody stop the poet?
Perhaps if we flung blood
or shrieked and grabbed his ankles–
it wouldn’t do any good:

He’s only getting started,
and won’t pay any heed.
“Those first few were my short ones.
The next twelve I will read…”

(First published in 5:AM)



Bruce Bennett is Professor Emeritus of English at Wells College in Aurora, New York. He was a cofounder and editor of Field and Ploughshares, and served as an editor at Judith Kitchen’s State Street Press. His reviews of contemporary poetry have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The Nation, Harvard Review, and elsewhere. He is the author of nine books of poetry and more than 25 poetry chapbooks, and was recently awarded a Pushcart Prize. His latest chapbooks are The Wither’d Sedge (Finishing Line Press, 2014) and Swimming in a Watering Can (Foothills Publishing, 2014).