W. Luther Jett



A man is writing a poem
on a very dark night
in a time of war
as planes fly over his head.

He intends it to be a sonnet
but the meter isn't right,
so he settles for free verse
and keeps writing.

And as he writes, he becomes
conscious of another man
who is also writing a poem
in the middle of a war-torn night.

And with an awareness verging
on vertigo, he realizes
that the poem the other man
is writing is about him.

Indeed, it is about him writing
poetry on a dark night,
and how he--the first man--
is a poem inside another poem.

And the man writing about him
is also a poem, being
written by a third man
on a dark night in wartime.

And it becomes clear--
as clear as things can become
in times of war--that the third
man is also a poem.

The third man is a poem
being written by a fourth man,
and there are poems within poems,
an infinite recessional.

All these poems, being written
by men who are, themselves,
poems within poems
being written by other men.

And this is when the first man
understands that if he is a poem
within a poem within a poem,
then it is all one poem.

One poem with infinite verses
being written with infinite hands
on infinite nights in a time
of infinite war.

And with a clarity that is
only possible when one realizes
that one is a poem inside
a poem the man begins to write:

“A man is writing a poem
on a very dark night
in a time of war
as planes fly over his head ....”



W. Luther Jett lives in Washington Grove, MD, and has published a chapbook of poems and original graphics, A Leather Dress Fur Mother. He began writing shortly after learning how to hold a crayon and started transcribing his ideas onto paper shortly thereafter. His poems have appeared in a number of journals, including The GW Review, WordWrights, Syncopated City, Synæsthesia, ABRAXAS, The Burning Cloud Review, Middle Class Review, and Main Street Rag, as well as in several journals published on the World Wide Web.


Published in Volume 7, Number 2, Spring 2006.