Patricia O’Neil


The Poet’s Lament

I did not write a poem today,
instead I cleaned the grill.
I swept the porch and washed my hair.
I organized my underwear.
I even paid a bill.

I did not write a poem today,
instead I sent a tweet.
I fed the birds, the dogs, and cats,
washed all the baseballs and the bats,
and pedicured my feet.

I did not write a poem today,
instead I wondered why
my errant muse did not have time
to visit with a bit of rhyme.
No, no. She flew right by.

Oh, fickle font of poetry,
your timing really stinks.
You show up when I’m teaching class,
or Sunday morning during mass,
or when I’m scrubbing sinks.

If only we could make a deal.
Let’s plan a daily chat.
I’d gladly make a space each day
transcribing what you have to say.
What do you think of that?

The Muse’s Reply

I had a poem for you today,
a smart Petrarchan sonnet.
But you were feeding birds and cats
(who washes balls and washes bats?)—
and so I have withdrawn it.

I had a poem for you today.
It’s not the least bit silly.
(It’s truly got a nifty rhyme.)
Perhaps I’ll try another time.
Or just give it to Billy.

Patricia O’Neil is a member of the Hyla Brook Poets. Her poems have appeared in Still Crazy and Rattle. She is a middle school teacher who lives and teaches in Derry, NH, where she and her husband have raised their five—yes, five—children, none of whom have yet produced grandchildren, not that this bothers her.