“The Burden of the Unwritten” by Louis Daniel Brodsky

Several years ago, the great late poet and Faulkner scholar Louis Daniel Brodsky wrote this piece for me after some particularly intense and creative correspondence between us. This is one of a few dedicated poems. He assured me that any published or unpublished work that he sent to me would be fair game for sharing. I’m deeply honored by his sentiments, and I miss him even more deeply. Thank you, L.D.


The Burden of the Unwritten
For David Herrle

Often, I obsess over all that I’ve missed — not written,
Not heated in inscrutable oblivion’s scalding cauldron,
Not forged in molds formed out of the origins of my poetry,

Not wrought into shapes every bit as exquisite, in their simplicity,
As Grecian urns, Egyptian amphoras, Chinese vases,
Not harvested, to nourish appetites of the starving mind.

Whenever my thoughts compel me in this demoralizing direction,
I sense my veins rise to the surface of my flesh,
Like silken spider webs rippling in silence’s quivering breeze,

As if I were a fragile, gasping creature trying to catch my breath,
Revitalize my slowing blood flow,
And I realize that the stress created by all I’ve not composed

Is an infinitely inordinate burden on my psyche,
For my failure to connect with the source of my life-force,
Derive, from it, the dialogue between my body and my soul.

That’s why, every opportunity I’m given or can grasp,
I transmute ideas, images, metaphors, symbols, rhymes
Into concrete linkages with the world that embodies my spirit,

Maniacally fighting off the demons who’d silence my yearnings
To transcend my heart’s inarticulateness,
Annihilate my craving to quest for the secrets of the ineffable.