Arts & Culture

Poetic License

By Garrick HoffmanPoetic License

Poetry doesn’t come easily for me. Analyzing it, understanding it, writing it – I’ve always endured a lot of difficulty with it, even despite my title as an enthusiastic writer with an affinity for the craft. Every time I produce a poem, at the end I feel like what I really wrote are lyrics to a song (I’m also a musician after all; perhaps there’s a connection).
Nonetheless, here I am occupying the Poetic License column with a poem. The ever-gracious Patrick Doyle, the Arts & Features section editor who typically is occupying this space, has allowed me to commandeer the role of the Poetic Licensee, and I lend my thanks to him for it.
I wrote this when I was living in Hawaii spending an inordinate amount of time reading. I had a lot of free time. I was reading “Apt Pupil,” a novella found in Stephen King’s Different Seasons (oddly enough, I mention this same book of short stories in another column in this issue), and one specific moment in that story inspired me to write this. The trademark ominousness of King’s work is undoubtedly the catalyst of this poem’s macabre nature. My former Creative Writing professor described it as very “Poe-ish.”
I hope you enjoy it!

The Digger

The dark made the digging hard
The only light was sent from the stars
But still he dug to muffled screams
Coming from the box of struggle and muted pleas

“Shut it!” he belted, the spade driving into the ground,
As his victim close-by was both blinded and bound,
“Or I’ll aim for your neck and you won’t make a sound!”

But the trapped continued to weep
And his grave was now five feet deep
Death, becoming real, was surely looming
By a digger with a zeal so hot and unmoving

Suddenly the digger was under arrest
He dropped his spade and clutched his chest
The world around him began to spin
Just like him, as he collapsed and fell in

The trapped finally fell silent
The heavens he’d later see remained sky lit
The digger lay gasping, reaching for the stars
His vision faded, and Hell’s door stood ajar

Gone now, his mind, heart, and limbs
He decayed slowly; his body grew thin
And just like that, he atoned for his sin
Inside of a grave that was not meant for him

Categories: Arts & Culture

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