Literature 1-15-2007

What Light: This Week’s Poem: Todd Boss

"What Light" presents a new poem by a Minnesota poet every week. The work is chosen by a jury of writers, publishers, and editors, and sponsored by Magers and Quinn Booksellers. Look for the anthology of What Light poems coming in February!


The Mind Will Wander

—as water will seep;
as mice will yonder

creep the clover deep
and still nose home;

as a wren will dither
daily in the dome and

remember the nest’s
address; as honeybees

comb September for
pollen—so the mind

will wander between
the lines (of music or

news or conversation),
will spend attention on

wonder’s fine wines,
will even tend toward

understanding, and,
swollen with booty or

duty or beauty, survive
to wend a way back

to the studious hive
and the subject at hand.

I wrote this poem as an apologia, to open a book-length collection of poems I’m working on. It apologizes for the way the collection itself wanders in and out of its topics. I’m obsessed lately with the concept of apology—more specifically, the demands apologies place on us as human beings.

And I can’t help apologizing for this poem: that bit about “booty and duty and beauty” … doesn’t that get a bit cute? And can I really get away with using the word “yonder” anywhere, much less in an opening stanza? Oh well. I was having some fun!

Todd Boss is the Director of External Affairs at The Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis. His MFA is from the University of Alaska–Anchorage. His work appears in Poetry, TriQuarterly, The Sun, and other journals. From time to time, his mind will wander.

Todd Boss

Todd Boss is an American multi-modal producer, writer, and innovator whose wide-ranging practice includes product innovation, literature, film, performance art, public art, and programmatic initiatives that often evolve into patents, companies, and nationwide activations.   His vision is to make the world more poetic, which for him involves non-traditional projects that exhibit elegance of expression, simplicity of execution, accessibility, cross-disciplinary collaboration, and community …   read more