Daniel Lusk – Is That All There Is…to a Poem?

Lusk LE P&W August 2023

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Special Australian Edition August 2023

Is That All There Is…to a Poem? – poems by Daniel Lusk.

Is That All There Is…to a Poem?

after a song by jazz artist and composer Peggy Lee

Old poet foresees questions of veracity. What must a poem have? Or do?  Or be?

Say it aloud: Will it sing itself (I wonder) off the page?
Does it skip or trip along? Or amble, so we abide the pace?

Never mind formalities: sonnet, sestina, villanelle—the box. The hidden tongue-and-
groove of tanka and haiku that go without saying.

Vaunted compression? Not only for the sake of brevity, but understatement: leaning
into grief or joy. The shadow sense of a reader’s mind: To wit: a tingle between the

A poem may merely tease—“bark” of a dog or tree. Or flirt with meaning—“sally” for
a willow or a girl.

Listen: there is saffron on the poet’s bow.

Have we tale or yarn? Some allusion, connotation, hint?
Or lyric—an echo, a lisp, a lingering…a whisper of citrus or shadow of plum in the
wine. Aftertaste of the holy crust.
The little rift of silence after.

More Farthings & Ha’pennies


Lift this knot into contemplation.


No one dances with the dervish
and he sleeps alone.


Listening to Schumann,
“Adagio for Horn and Piano,”
I hang laundry in the back garden.


The scent, the hour…


As much as your snowdrops of March and tulips
of April, I loved her moist what-have-yous.

In the Kingdom of Gourmands

When heroes came, we ate them.


They were not thieves but adventurers in want of a boat.

Hummingbird at the Cardinal Flowers

Little flirty thirty-cups

Sisters under the Skin

The bark beetle. Now there’s an artist and a nobody.

Requiem in Steel
—for sculptor Kate Pond

Blessed the light at the end of the day.

© Daniel Lusk

Daniel Lusk is author of several poetry collections and other books, most recently Every Slow Thing, poems (Kelsay Books 2022) and Farthings, eBook (Yavanika Press 2022). Besides appearances online in Live Encounters, his work is published widely in print journals and his genre-bending essay “Bomb” (New Letters) was awarded a Pushcart Prize. His sonic poem, “Toccata for Spoons,” was among Honorable Mentions chosen by Billy Collins for the 2023 Fish Poetry Prize (Ireland). He lives in Vermont (USA).

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