MS (8.4.1929 / Marton, Lancashire)

0124 A Dead Poet Comments On 'Comments'

of candle-laboured hours and screwed-up eyes,
the quill scratch-scratching, the paper ragged rough, the ink
unwieldy, black and unredeeming
as a judge’s cap –

fame – or barely fame,
the least to be hoped for, a mere ‘name’ – a
mere sheet of scrawled, curled paper
passed around a smoky coffee-house: they
so shrewd of eye and savage oft of wit;

or at the best, the whim of jobbing printer:
then, fame or forgetting lay beyond this life.

The grave’s a humbling, private place
where even poets labelled ‘metaphysical’
begin their education quite anew…

and yet, and yet - some centuries ahead,
some divine post-classic irony may devise
a means of universal access
to poems quite unread
(alas, and oft unread their readers too…)

and so, humbled by cold grave and death,
there’s one more humbling yet to bear:
the stripling’s comments on a verse that lives,
the poet – would he know it – dead:
‘Not so great – keep writing’…

raising in these bleachwhite bones and grimjaw skull
the faintest meta-physical, unseen
ghost of a smile

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Comments (5)

i wanna get by u
U suck. Stop stop stop stop ur making me criiiiiii BLEH
Well, I think my fellow kick ass gal poets have said it all about this one. Fantastic. Hugs Anna xxx
Yes (though of course the day anybody says 'not so great about you' Michael will be the day hell freezes over! ! ! ! !) Divine read as ever (slighly Eliot-ish to me in structure, says she studiously) ... and as so often carrying a half-serious message..... love it.
LOL. Welcome back, Mikey, and thanks for the giggle. I concur wholeheartedly with the idea that comments are often intended as homage to a piece of writing. It is quite immaterial, then, whether the author sees the comment or not. I like your style, Mikey. Love, Gina.