THE FINAL READING
At the final reading of my poems in this life,
I will confess,
all the wrongs I have done, omitting none
even the time I changed a math answer in
because I felt embarrassed for adding up
and I could never tell my parents my mistake.
I began a guilt that found a warm home inside
all my life, like a bear in a geological fault,
its winters in a form of death, but not death,
a life-giving sleep, and that is what guilt must
for me then, until now, when I have to say,
and, of course, nobody cares what I had ever
done or said,
believing none of it, knowing all along what
poets are, that they built lies like seawalls,
storm cellars, but not to keep anything out,
only to shelter
lies, to fabricate, to make up, to nurture them
Bio: Ronald Moran lives in Simpsonville SC. His poems appear in current or recent issues of a number of journals, including Asheville Poetry Review, Evening Street Review, Louisiana Review, Orange Room Review, South Carolina Review, Tar River Poetry, Thomas Wolfe Review, and Wallace Stevens Journal. His latest book is The Jane Poems (2011), and he is now working on putting a new collection together
I love this one. The truth that poets are liars, that we “built lies like seawalls … to nurture them into poems.” Lines to covet. YES. yes. yes.
I love this poem–the associative conversational tone–the small confession of the third grader, etc.
Just not sure I completely buy the “lie” as a conclusion (every the suspicious one, I–which come to think of it rhymes with “lie”). This poem, for instance (o happy irony!) shelters such profound truth!
I appreciate very much your concurring with the gist of this poem. The room usually gets very quiet when I spring the “liar” motif on the listeners, but then I follow by saying that the “truth” is the poem on the page in front of you and it doesn’t matter how it got there as long as it’s there. Of course, I am by no means talking down techniques, etc., but I am trying to say, Believe the icon before you. I plan to use this as the penultimate poem of my next collection. Take good care of yourself, my friend.
What fun, Ron, in the seriousness of this poem! What serious truth in its humor! How you must have enjoyed writing it.
You know, I did enjoy writing this poem. I’m glad you picked that up.