Li Po was correct about collecting
books for a writer’s personal pleasure.
Reading copies just don’t last forever.
They are subject to mold, worms; common dust
damages them. Pages turn pale yellow,
fray, become brittle, even turn to dust.
If they are any good—like Homer or James Joyce—
they are reprinted each generation.
A writer should not overly admire
another writer, not even great ones
because in the end that’s a distraction.
Best to heave your shoulder to the iron plow
and drive your crooked furrow as you will
without ever thinking of our great Will!