Of My Ego and the Muse

This was one of my poems from my early fatherhood days, trying to be a good husband, going to school, learning how to fix things around the house, pay the bills. Sometimes we were just so tired. I saw the way people worked so hard with fertilizer and weed killers just to make every blade of grass in their lawns look “perfect,” and by that they mean identical. Personally I liked, and still do like, the multi-colored yellows and violets of my own plot of weeds out back.

I thought of this poem the day before last when I was recording and uploading Edna St. Vincent Millay’s “Portrait by a Neighbor.” Funny, you’d think mine was certainly influenced by hers, but I had not read hers at that time. I’m tickled to know she and I are brother and sister in this way.

Of My Ego and the Muse

The rusty kitchen faucet drips and drips;
our oven needs a heating element;
the door knob to the bathroom squeaks and sticks,
and the railing in the stairway is oddly bent.

One day I’ll switch the hoses to the washer
so hot is hot and cold is cold again,
and find the reason that old dryer
never dries but only rocks and spins.

In the interim my toolbox sits unused.
Our speckled lawn grows weedy and unmown
with dandelions and violet blooms,
while I sweat and labor. . . at this poem.

© David J. Bauman 2012

Aside: Bring on the discussion of ellipses versus dashes. I have read the rules, but they, like this poem, seem to bend a bit in such situations. I agonized over using a dash or even an E. E. Cummings-style parenthetical phrase, but a dash normally indicates an abrupt change; parentheses tend to understate, but the ellipses seem most useful in trailing off in thought. Ah well, I shall let the editors argue.

23 Replies to “Of My Ego and the Muse”

  1. Okay, I’m going to hit you with a Millay parody I wrote, lo these many years…


    I keep a little sweetshop
    Beside the High School run,
    Where all the red-cheeked children
    Are let in, one by one.

    There is a CCTV,
    And mirrors on each wall
    To catch the red-cheeked children
    Who drift in from the mall.

    There lurks, alert, my brother,
    And carries a big stick,
    And I can rouse the rozzers
    Each thieving child to nick.

    Aye, ’tis a curious fancy –
    But all my stock, I know,
    Was swiped from under my grey eyes
    A short time ago!



  2. This was a great poem. Could you do ‘how to’ write poetry info on your blog. I know nothing about poetry form and when i write them I just lay down words on a page!!!


    1. Hmmm… I never thought about that, Jackie. I do want to teach eventually and we are working on starting a workshop for young people in my town, but I hadn’t considered anything like that online. I wouldn’t have the crutch of using someone else’s text book… But it could be fun! Let me ponder on that.


    1. Aw, thank you, Jennifer! I know what you mean about this month too. I think I’ve added some poetry pounds since I haven’t been hitting the gym, but working on recording and producing videos ever day. 😦 I have a few newer pieces I’ll be posting, and I need to really fix and update the Poet page too. Ugh, changed one thing, and this new theme shot my line breaks all to hell. grrrr.


    1. They are tedious, that’s what they are. Basically, ellipses are supposed to denote when words are left out, though they can leave a sentence trailing off. Dashes are preferred it seems in cases like this one, but even according to the rules, the dash indicates an abrupt change. The dots here just work better. lol
      That’s all I have strength to say before Sunday morning coffee.


    1. Yeah, I try to figure out what the poem really wants. Better for it to be in control than me. 🙂 So, following the gut is the same thing. I agrees.


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