A Poet set up his Stall in the Marketplace today

A soft-spoken man, not diffident and not forward.






I asked him if he had learned the discipline.  Yes, at Dickinson College, in central Pennsylvania.





I asked if he intended to continue to write poetry. 

He said that it had taken him a while to understand that he could make a poetic living. He is a full-time poet.


“You have to live a life to be a poet. I am a poet,” he said.  “I live it.” 







I was a little taken aback.

In a market full of early Autumn




Lancaster County corn brought into West Philly by Amish farmers



a young man had no doubt that an unknown passer-by would believe him to be a poet; and be content.








I asked him to write me a poem about October birthdays.  I forgot to tell him that it need not be dreamy.  (I am worn out with dreaminess: it makes me anxious.)








I watched his hands. He wrote me a balanced poem. Libra for my birthday month.








A man with a vocation. 

He is going to fill halls later, I thought.

He won’t need a stall in a farmers’ market although he may still want one.

People are going to press around him in great halls.

Women are going to swoon and write him dreamy and ridiculous letters which his publisher will pass on, laughing.






I will remember him, I thought.  Marshall James Kavanaugh. 


I thanked him, carrying my birthday gift away.








12 thoughts on “A Poet set up his Stall in the Marketplace today

    1. Yes, that is right, I think, Tish. Of course, all my imagination is open to this kind of encounter because it was set in roundels of poetry which ‘they’ made me learn at school! To my everlasting gratitude now! Sarah

    1. Thanks for reading it, Rachel! A full-time poet: none of us know anyone else like him. Sarah

      1. He sets up on the street with one of his six vintage typewriters and people pay him $5 or $10 for a poem. He also writes for himself and he reads his poetry. He says he is a poet and he has long known that and he intends to live by it. I told him I only knew one other such, William S. Merwin who died this year. It is a vocation and wonderful if the poets can fulfil it.

        October is my birthday month. Thanks for the good wishes, Rachel.


  1. Beautiful people have their birthdays in October. Too dreamy. And a poem as a gift? That would be the best present ever I’m sure.

    1. It’s October that is so beautiful. It delivers us to the cold with such staggering colors. That young poet himself was sitting in an aura which is beautiful. Carries it around with him in his typewriter case…… Scorpio is also part of October and are they beautiful or just difficult!!?


      1. I call October the arising of the naked truth within winter as the summertime fades into nostalgic shades. Though every difficulty too arises a certain kind of beauty; simply for the fact that it accomplishes something.

    1. When I saw this man, I thought I was in England. It was his whole way of being. Diffident, unaggressive. Don’t come across this here much here outside known hangouts of the Hippie relics! Sarah

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