! On Not Quite Knowing Kathleen Raine
And now she's died, too...
and mankind's selfish howl rings out -
She should have died hereafter...
why didn't you tell us you were going to die...?
She left us with a poem to her lover;
their parting once almost as chewed-over
as the Ted and Sylvia show...
was it her fault, was it his,
did she ruin his talent?
Did he ruin hers?
Did she ruin her own? ..
and on and on
and then the obituaries the next day -
half a page of glorious, immortal things one never knew
about that small, dignified, humble lady
to whom I was introduced
with the wrong reference,
so that we shook hands weakly
over a void of silent incomprehension...
she who had entered the room
with my my my book in her hand...
and made me too feel immortal...
until we were introduced...
and now I wish there were some love-bank of futility
where we could say
put this uncounted love to her account - no, no name please
because we would have loved you more, we think,
if we had known
what we know now
it's pathetic isn't it