I very much enjoy the poetry of Billy Collins, former Poet Laureate of the United States. But don't hold that against him. He is an excellent, insightful and very funny writer (and reader) of his own works.
So how could I not print this poem, which is today's featured poem on NPR's The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor.
The poem is called "Sonnet", from Sailing Alone Around the Room. I'm pretty sure he reads it on Billy Collins Live, A Performance at the Peter Norton Symphony Space which, to my mind, makes his perfect-pitch poetry even better. This poem reminds me of having to write a 500-word, or a thousand or, heaven forbid, two-thousand-word essay, and using as much filler as possible, to fill the quota without actually doing much work. Better yet, a two page essay, where you not only used filler, but wrote as large as you'd dare, skipped spaces between paragraphs, and generally had the same goal. Collins's goal here is to get 12 lines of poetry done.
Without futher ado, here's "Sonnet":
All we need is fourteen lines, well, thirteen now,
and after this one, just a dozen
to launch a little ship on love's storm-tossed seas,
then only ten more left like rows of beans.
How easily it goes unless you get Elizabethan
and insist iambic bongos must be played
and rhymes positioned at the ends of lines'
one for every station of the cross.
But hang on there while we make the turn
into the final six where all will be resolved,
where longing and heartache will find an end,
where Laura will tell Petrarch to put down his pen,
take off those crazy medieval tights,
blowout the lights, and come, at last, to bed.
[Men in tights via the Very Merry Seamstress]