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Why Sarah Will Never Suffer Writer's Block
Don Colburn

We ordered a medium – half pepper and onion,
half plain, no mushrooms, no meat –
and waited for our number to be called.
I was wishing it could all be so simple
and grumbling how badly the morning had gone,
how hard to get started.
Then Sarah, who's eight, said Okay,
here's what you do, go look
in a book, find a topic you like
and whatever it is, make up a rhyme –
like you could go
            the blue whale
                      has a slippery tail . . .
She shrugged, rolled her quibble-proof eyes
and turned her hands inside out: See?
Now it was my turn to shrug and our number
came up, but Sarah kept on:
You know – the biggest animal on earth?
But you could pick Halloween or jelly beans
or a ghost. It could be anything.
This poem first appeared in Explorations and later appeared in Another Way to Begin 
and As If Gravity Were a Theory (Cider Press, 2006).
Used here with the author's permission.

Don Colburn was born in Georgia, grew up in Massachusetts, and now lives in Portland, Oregon. A longtime newspaper reporter who didn’t start writing poems until he was nearly 40, Don worked for The Washington Post and The Oregonian during the 33-year course of his newspaper career, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in feature writing. He has published three collections of poems, one of which won the Finishing Line Press Prize, and another won the Cider Press Review Book Award. Don's poems have appeared in anthologies and many magazines and he is a board member of Friends of William Stafford. Learn more about him at



Post New Comment:
We all need a little 'Sarah' in our lives, don't we? Thanks for the reminder- inspiration is all around me- if I will just open my eyes!
Posted 04/02/2011 06:05 PM
Great start to the month! Love "quibble-proof eyes" (as does Katrina, I see). So much truth in this one.
Posted 04/01/2011 11:03 AM
wendy morton:
All you have to do is open your eyes and there is a poem. Sarah knows this and so does Don. A delight.
Posted 04/01/2011 10:54 AM
Love it.
Posted 04/01/2011 10:17 AM
Patricia Esposito:
Lovely. How easily we can access the delight in the world when we remember that creativity requires nothing more than a moment of altered thinking.
Posted 04/01/2011 09:44 AM
Carol Hauer:
So simple! "Out of the mouths of babes..." What a refreshingly delightful and direct approach to tackling a problem or a task! Why get complicated? Way to go, Sarah!
Posted 04/01/2011 08:52 AM
. . . 'her quibble-proof eyes'. . . She is welcome to visit my website at My neice, Etta, just ten, might start a dialogue from Scotland.
Posted 04/01/2011 04:54 AM

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