Let’s say I’m on an island all alone
And you are on a ship. You sail, apart
And strong across the wide spray-filled, wind-blown
Expanse with no illusions, but a heart
Weathered, fired in the furnace of solitude.
And let us then imagine ink, and parchment,
My message scrawled across and placed in rude
Antique bottle, corked, sealed with tar and sent
In hope or despair, into the emptiness
It reaches you, you read, you answer back
The bottles coming to my shore express
Community, then unity, and lack
Of loneliness—a bridge of words exposed
Connections none had ever presupposed.
I took piano lessons from 1st to 8th grade, from the local small-town piano teacher. What I mostly learned was how to read music under pressure, since I never practiced my lessons and had to try to play for the teacher as if I knew what I was doing. Later, in college, I had a series of lessons with a real pianist, someone with actual musical training, and at one point he said to me, "playing the piano is not like typing." I guess most people would say, duh! to that, but it really surprised me. To me, playing the piano is pretty much exactly like typing. Needless to say, I've never won any awards and never been suspected of having any musical talent. I was reminded of that when I was composing this sonnet--to me, writing poetry is a lot like working a crossword puzzle. And somehow, I have a gut feeling that that is the wrong attitude. But, by gosh, I said I'd have a sonnet here today, and there it is.