A Quiet Life
Today’s poem is A Quiet Life by Baron Wormser. Baron grew up in Baltimore and in 1970 he moved to Maine with his wife Janet. For twenty-five years he worked as a librarian for SAD 59 in Madison, Maine and homesteaded off-the-grid on 48 acres. He’s published ten books of poetry, the most recent is Unidentified Sighing Objects. He now lives in Montpelier, Vermont.
Baron writes that A Quiet Life, “… came out whole in a rush. I remember distinctly that I was sitting in the rocking chair next to the Jotul in our house in the woods and it was late at night and the poem came to me. I wrote it out by hand and wondered, "Where did this come from?"
A Quiet Life
by Baron Wormser
What a person desires in life
is a properly boiled egg.
This isn't as easy as it seems.
There must be gas and a stove,
the gas requires pipelines, mastodon drills,
banks that dispense the lozenge of capital.
There must be a pot, the product of mines
and furnaces and factories,
of dim early mornings and night-owl shifts,
of women in kerchiefs and men with
Then water, the stuff of clouds and skies
and God knows what causes it to happen.
There seems always too much or too little
of it and more pipelines, meters, pumping
stations, towers, tanks.
And salt—a miracle of the first order,
the ace in any argument for God.
Only God could have imagined from
nothingness the pang of salt.
Political peace too. It should be quiet
when one eats an egg. No political hoodlums
knocking down doors, no lieutenants who are
ticked off at their scheming girlfriends and
take it out on you, no dictators posing as tribunes.
It should be quiet, so quiet you can hear
the chicken, a creature usually mocked as a type
of fool, a cluck chained to the chore of her body.
Listen, she is there, pecking at a bit of grain
that came from nowhere.
Poem Copyright 2008, Baron Wormser.
Reprinted from Scattered Chapters, Sarabande Books, 2008, by permission of Baron Wormser.