For Ursula by pd lyons


many years ago, sitting in the smoking section of the Silas Bronson library Waterbury ct. read a few books wrote a few things. read some poetry by Joyce Carol Oates and then some essay by Ursula Le Guin. one of the poems i wrote i sent with a fan letter to Ursula. she was kind enough to respond saying the poem hit her right in her “major response zone”. something I never forgot. thirty some odd years later a version of the poem was published in an Irish magazine called  The SHOp a magazine of poetry; #9 summer: //

Below is the letter and the original poem which she so graciously commented on:

Letter to LeGuin.

I didn’t want to read anything LeGuin had to say about writing. I knew her words would press on me, drawing me back into the writing mania. I was right. I shouldn’t have but I did read her essays and I found (of course) a line that I snatched up like one would have a ten dollar bill found on a busy sidewalk. Looking around making sure no one noticed, making sure it really was mine, that it really was my lucky day – “Art like sex cannot be carried on indefinitely solo; after all they have the same mutual enemy, sterility.”

I am going to paint words in black letters on a white background and hang it in my December exhibition. (With of course her permission.) However as grateful as I am I refuse to write or paint about a dragon; no matter how much I want to….

For Ursula

I had to write one poem

which took thousands of years

to write

thousands of years

to translate

and thousands of years to be brought to dragons

who took another thousand years to read it aloud.

It was only after many lives

that I finally heard the last word

and by then I no longer believed in dragons

so it made no sense.


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