A True Poem

I’m working on a poem that’s so true, I can’t show it to anyone.

I could never show it to anyone.

Because it says exactly what I think, and what I think scares me.

Sometimes it pleases me.

Usually it brings misery.

And this poem says exactly what I think.

What I think of myself, what I think of my friends, what I think about my lover.


Parts of it might please them, some of it might scare them.

Some of it might bring misery.

And I don’t want to hurt them, I don’t want to hurt them.

I don’t want to hurt anybody.

I want everyone to love me.

Still, I keep working on it.


Why do I keep working on it?

Nobody will ever see it.

Nobody will ever see it.

I keep working on it even though I can never show it to anybody.

I keep working on it even though someone might get hurt.

– Lloyd Schwartz


I find several things appealing about the poem; the idea of a poem so true it hurts, of how sometimes the truth hurts people, but the narrator can’t stop writing the poem. This raises the question then – is it that the truth is so compelling, that it is a relief, or that the narrator needs the satisfaction of the truth even if only in private?
You can read a short bio of Schwartz here. You can read an interesting interview of him talking about Elizabeth Bishop here.

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