An American poet who served two terms as the 44th Poet Laureate of the United States.. American poet appointed as Poet Laureate of the United States 2001–2003
Now it is time to say what you have to say.
The room is quiet.
The whirring fan has been unplugged,
and the girl who was tapping
a pencil on her desktop has been removed.
So tell us what is on your mind.
We want to hear the sound of your foliage,
the unraveling of your tool kit,
your songs of loneliness,
your songs of hurt.
The trains are motionless on the tracks,
the ships are at restn the harbor.
The dogs are cocking their heads
and the gods are peering down from their balloons.
The town is hushed,
and everyone here has a copy.
So tell us about your parents—
your father behind the steering wheel,
your cruel mother at the sink.
Let's hear about all the clouds you saw, all the trees.
Read the poem you brought with you tonight.
The ocean has stopped sloshing around,
and even Beethoven
is sitting up in his deathbed,
his cold hearing horn inserted in one ear.