"Impromtu verse, or 'poetry' to order, is easy only when approached in the cooly prosaic sprit. Given something to say, a metrical mechanic like myself can easily hammer the matter into technically correct verse, substituting formal poetic diction for real inspiration or thought. For instance, I lately received a post-card bearing the picture of swans on a placid stream. Desiring to reply in appropriate verse, I harked back to the classic myth of Phaethon and Cygnus, handling it as follows:
With pensive grace, the melancholy Swan
"This required about 10 minutes of composition."
- in a letter to Robert Kleiner, 1915