Many Tiny and Discrete Units

by Richard Stoltzfoos

Each poem must be an island to its own.
It must require no knowledge gained before
To show the reader something never known.

Allusion’s too pretentious in its tone;
Its wrecks of horror strew the mainland shore.
Each poem must be an island to its own.

Each poem must be vivacious and alone,
A single gem of thought, simple to store,
To show the reader something never known.

It may forget the past. It must not drone
Of battles and of gods, of love and war;
Each poem must be an island to its own.

The modern poem is free; off it has thrown
The mainland’s mass, to get at something more:
To show the reader something never known.

We’ve learned to learn by stepping stone to stone.
The sun of Solomon was young and poor;
Each poem must be an island to its own,
And show the reader something never known.


Richard Stoltzfoos is the son of Adin,
son of Wilmer,
son of Elam,
son of Moses,
son of Samuel,
son of John,
son of Christian,
son of Nicholas Stoltzfus,
who in the year 1766 emigrated from Europe,
being born of Christian Gottlieb Stoltzfus,
of the Saxon line of that name
which began in the year of our Lord 400,
by the provision of God, in German Saxony.


Photography by Kenneth Godoy

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