Paul Dickey, "Workshop on Metrics"



Something on the table wasn’t level,
and the angle on the edge, a bevel.

A would-be poet spoke the best he could
though his meter would seem to clunk on wood,

while others were praised for their being wise
and bragged and bragged of every prize.

They wrote most beautiful inanities,
and one-upped others with their vanities.

One proclaimed how he had to memorize
a thousand lines each and ev’ry sunrise

to assure that he won’t now or ever
miss a beat or speak a rhyme not clever.

Verses not taking themselves seriously
seemed to find favor mysteriously.

One brilliant but as yet unpublished sage
was today the favorite and the rage.

He had written a Petrarchan sonnet
called “My Mother in Her Easter Bonnet.”

A humbled poet though was left bereft.
When he was kindly asked to leave, he left.


Paul Dickey’s second full-length book of poetry, Wires Over the Homeplace, was recently published by Pinyon Publishing. His first, They Say This is How Death Came Into the World, was published by Mayapple Press in 2011. Dickey’s work has appeared lately in Prairie Schooner, Laurel Review, Bellevue Literary Review, Pleiades, 32Poems, Pinyon Review, and other publications.