Sonnet to a Muse

by Moira Egan

I wonder if the muscle you maintain
as metaphorical is really just
another way to euphemise: the pen
is all we need: forget the heat, the lust

that drives us, high on octane, low on brain,
the black & white scenario. But must
we hammer down that dusty road again?
I never was too good at lessons, thrust

the stupid book onto the shotgun side.
You look surprised. Yes, I did well in school
but never studied; learned nothing by heart.
Except: it beats, it breaks, it falls and slides
in trouble, Muse. And my Ice Princess cool
exterior? My muscles ache your art.

Moira Egan’s poetry collections are Cleave; La Seta della Cravatta/The Silk of the Tie; Bar Napkin Sonnets; and, most recently, Spin (Entasis Press 2010). Her poems and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Best American Poetry 2008. With Damiano Abeni, she has published books in translation by John Barth, Mark Strand, Josephine Tey, and John Ashbery, whose collection, Un mondo che non può essere migliore: Poesie scelte 1956-2007, won a Special Prize of the Premio Napoli (2009). She has been a Mid Atlantic Arts Fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts; Writer in Residence at St. James Cavalier Centre for Creativity, Malta; a Writing Fellow at the Civitella Ranieri Center; and a Fellow at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center. She has been teaching poetry and literature for many years, and now teaches English and Creative Writing at John Cabot University in Rome.