Long while I’ve dwelt among the beats and rhymes
Of classic verse by Chaucer, Spenser, Pope—
With Shakespeare’s, Milton’s, Marvell’s, Wordsworth’s chimes
Resounding in my ears and raising hope
That I might stride in their pentameters
And weave a stanza with exquisite skill
Until a kindred mystery occurs
And poetry appears that Time can’t kill.
Just as the dyer’s hand at last acquires
The color of the dye, so would I learn
By reverent absorption what inspires
A scintillating line and makes it burn,
And how to shape a couplet that endures
That I might claim: This is as good as yours.