He walked around the schoolhouse, studying every classroom as he went. The schoolchairs with their ancient wood tops, all in neat rows, the flag, the alphabet, portraits of Washington and Lincoln. Behind the school on the walkway through the grass, he saw her.
She was very young, but perhaps older than many who might have attended this school. She was slender, with light brown hair held with a blue ribbon that matched the color of her dress. She was busy with a bucket full of blackboard erasers, dusting them against each other for tomorrow’s schoolday. When he saw her he thought not of either of his two daughters, both long grown and far away, but of a girl he knew long, long ago. He knew how she would answer his question.
May I help you, sir?
Yes. Yes, please. Can you tell me who wrote the poem in the window of that classroom there?
It was me.
I am trying to write poetry myself and that poem there is a real poem. Can you tell me how you write poetry?
I don’t think about it when I am doing it. It is like running or speaking. I don’t think about the little parts of it – how I will do this or that – I just let go and don’t worry.
Why do you do it?
It’s like running down a hill. I do it for the joy of it. To feel the wind on my cheeks and the strength of my body and the will of my soul.