by Bruce Maples
I face the empty page —
College-ruled, three-hole-punched —
And worry about wasting it,
Putting words down needlessly.
I worry about wasting paper,
And then it hits me:
Isn’t all poetry wasting paper?
Isn’t all poetry just words on a page?
For that matter —
Isn’t all art a waste,
A waste of time and space?
We should be productive, the pragmatists say,
And use our time to work and play,
Fill our space with stuff we buy,
And never think of ear or eye
Or form, or shape, or pleasing sound
Or words upon a page.
So, in defiance of this age,
I vow to waste, and waste again,
To use my time, and spend my life,
In things that last beyond:
In lives of others, and in loves,
In acts of kindness, and of joy,
In life itself — wide, rich, and deep,
And most especially,
In wasteful acts of art.