In a famous poem, Seamus Heaney
once compared his pen to a gun. Well
this may be true for certain literary behemoths
but for me it’s not. I am a coward. My pen
is what I use in the suspicion that I could
never wield proper arms. I’d run away,
notepad in hand, at the first sign of the guns.
Crammed into trains crossing borders, I might
jot down a few hollow words, but not as empty
as the ones I’m writing now, blue sky outside
the window, mug of hot coffee in hand. I am
a coward. I can’t confront the thought of my own
nonexistence. Perhaps this is why I write
in the first place, so something survives me
when I’m gone. No, my pen is not a gun.
A gun is a gun. My pen is a pen. And a poem
is nothing more than a white flag in the wind.