‘Most poets are just lazy prose-writers’,
Said William Burroughs.
The cheek of it! Though he did say that T S Eliot was
Impressive as a lecturer. He had found that at Harvard.
And of course they did both come from St Louis.
He expressed no view of Ezra Pound though.
Hadn’t really read him, he professed.
Lazy prose-writers indeed! Of course, he always liked
To express dissent from commonly held views.
It was a trade mark of his. Liked to shock if he could.
Never liked to swim with the shoal, any shoal.
But really, what a way to dismiss poetry!
It made me so angry! How dare he?
After all the endless hours searching for just the right
Word or phrase, just the right nuanced emotion, just the
Right atmosphere, the rhythm, the shape, the rhyme…
The endless rewriting, the paring down, the bold excision.
He calls that lazy? Well we can all just pop pills,
Change our consciousness somehow, chemically or otherwise,
Rip off somebody else’s work, or stuff of our own
We can’t find any use for, cut it into pieces and then rearrange it
In ways that chaos makes incomprehensibly interesting.
Why am I so incensed by it? I guess he might have got
Too close to the truth…