Monday, April 24, 2017

A Mysterious Poet

Now do not stop. Don't lay your writers down–
Your pencils, felt-tips, Smith-Coronas, Bics–
Please keep them softly pressed to notebook pad
And make them dance around and through your life.
Fill pages, tablets, journals, books. Sling ink
Across your years, and paper-mate your mind.
Keep track on lines, look back in time, and see
Some stranger growing there. Where once you wrote,
Now ask, "Who thought that thought? Who was I then?"
The draft revised, syntax transformed, your slant
May lead you to some fresh enlightenment.
Then join with me; repeat the poet's lines:
"No one can know how glad I am to find
On any sheet the least display of mind."

I adore this poem. Not only does it sound lovely when you read it aloud, it conjures up the exact feelings of being a writer looking back at years of ink-slinging. The only problem is, I have no idea who wrote it. I found it on a photocopied sheet of paper stuffed into my high school writing portfolio–no author, no indication of the book of origin.

While I love research, it can be daunting to try to track down this Mysterious Poet ("M.P."). I've Googled every line of the poem–which led me not to an online version, but to Robert Frost's 1939 "A Considerable Speck", which my dear M.P. referenced in the last three lines of this poem. The first Bic pens, however, didn't appear until 1950. Since I photocopied M.P.'s poem in 2005, I need to find a poet who wrote between 1950 and 2005. I'm sure that's a short list. 

So, I've decided to try to cut some labor by asking all you wonderful people one question: Do you have any idea who wrote this charming piece?

Michelle is working on a book with rake heroine who absolutely refuses to play nice with the other cast members.


  1. It was written by Christopher Moore, Arlington-Green Isle High Sphaol, Arlibgton,Minnesota

    Not that I'm that well read. I used my sleuthing mojo and found it in a pdf of a 1977 document produced by the "National Council of Teachers of English" located here:

    1. Wow! Thanks, Tracy! I looked for two hours and couldn't find anything. I'm so glad I finally know who wrote this!