And what did you fear when you
thought you might have to fight, again,
to win invitations for your heart and voice, to
reach out with ease to whoever happened to be there?
Now it was, you said, time for poets to refocus –
not just because the others had complied;
isolation and distancing had seen to that.
All of us had sensed change. You were
a poet if you were told so; it was all about
chiming with a new set and watching once more
for opportunities – but the new words blew away
confused collaborations. To be clear,
you had said to their senior wordsmiths to
call you if ever, whenever. None ever did.
And you, it hit you hard, seemingly
not able to transition easily from bold last lines that
cut to the core to openers that showered gloom
you were not supposed to cast aside. You said that
few could straddle with confidence the crunching,
grating joins and shifts of two tectonic plates,
poetry past and poetry to be crafted.
Perhaps you could ask the Poet Laureate to
provide guidance? Surely that goes with the territory?
And there will be others who will watch and
listen from vantage points in nearby trees and,
seeing nothing of concern, climb down, sing in tune
and dance in time with those who’ve come for comfort
from the restatement of poetry hierarchies.
You say you’ve sifted through the history, you’ve
catalogued your creations and all seems satisfactory.
You say you want to push through to the sharp end,
be part, of post-pandemic poetry – better in than out;
and while you’re about it, shout when prompted and
give of your best when so requested. Would it prove
provocative to suggest written instructions?
Please tell me later, or make a sign, if you
still assert your work transcends the myriad
rules which many pretend are more than enough for
general consumption? And please take care lest
your syllables and sentences be sold for proper solitary –
dispensed, if they wish, to you or any friend or kin – and so,
if you still need an answer, that is the fear I hide inside.