The First Sentence- New Poetry by Robert Gibbons

Stoffa (2)

The Old Fish Shack           Michael Stoffa (1923-2001)


The First Sentence


It’s not often

a poet allows

him or herself

to do nothing, but

I just accomplished

this rare occurrence out

here in the newly renovated

shed, an effort of two weeks

scrubbing, sanding, painting,

repairing hole in ceiling, not to

mention chasing years’ worth of

insects back to nature.


It’s based on Scandinavian

disconnects I read about called

Hermit Huts, everything’s unplugged.

There was one photo in the article, an interior

so simple it made me think of van Gogh’s room,

& fondly recalled a similar space in Mexico, when

Manuel Avila Camacho compared our $40-month shack

to Vincent’s in Arles.


Although I’m the least handy of men

other than a certain propensity

toward bricolage in language,

I thought while looking at

the photo & its caption,

cozy 84-square-foot hut,

“I can do that!!”


The woods of Gotland Island, Sweden’s

got nothing on our backyard here in Portland.

I’m not losing sight of this accomplishment mentioned

earlier, what, poet doing nothing for a change? Lasted ten

minutes, after nailing latest curtain on windows facing West,

making shade against lowering August afternoon sun. Stan Getz

came on Jazz Radio out of San Francisco with Dreams from his album

Voyage, which I pulled in unplugged, battery only on indispensable computer,

doing nothing other than staring listening dreaming traveling readying to jot down

the first sentence come to mind.


-Robert Gibbons





Robert Gibbons

Robert Gibbons, a former Gloucester resident, is the author of nine books of poetry. In 2013, in addition to completing a Trilogy of prose poems with Nine Point Publishing,  he published Olson/Still: Crossroad, a brief study concerning the similarities in approach to art by Olson in words, and Clyfford Still in paint.





One thought on “The First Sentence- New Poetry by Robert Gibbons

  1. Excellent work by my poet friend, whose work I’ve previously had the pleasure of rendering in a Scandinavian language. When he does nothing, he does a lot!


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