For a great poet

It touched me how they wrote to him, praised him, idolized him
it touched me how I could never know, never feel, never hear those things of him
touched me in the heart of what I am, what I was meant to be
warring with a world out of time, a song without a place to go
an inside with nothing to cover it, an ache for no reason
there was no sense to it, no rhythm, no colour
and I live my life by those
how many now moments squeezing into the same instant
consciousness touching upon consciousness
dimensions out of whirl beyond the first world and into my knowing
why is that so difficult
I did not know him but his spirit moves me to my being
oho, now there is a real daisy
I could never be a writer, just a mirror holding a pen
always sliding down the scale of places I have never been
never seen the sunset across the long Pacific water
never heard the beat of his heart in my hand, nor hitch-hiked to the head space of a junkie
but he touched me, how could I stay the same
gone to the world, conscious intelligence to the voided universe where all our hopes lie
what are we, we little men and women, pulling out the teeth of our brothers, smashing our sisters
while their children wail in the dust at our feet
what thing is in us that we should understand more, behave less
he was a great poet, a great spark of dharma, he must have known
he was what he was, I will never know it
but I am here and is that not worth some smile from eternity
I have pain with which to mop up the roaring tirades of poets
who will ease the burdens I have found, no one to pick them up and take them on their shoulders
who will walk that mile with me, he is gone
they who are together, I will never be among them, will never see what they see
but from my window endlessness flows to the foot of infinity
he knows that place, dares the rest of us to find it


One thought on “For a great poet

  1. merrill says:

    Know this one? Just put me in mind of it reading your lines … though now as I think about it there is more a taste of neruda in your words than brian patten?

    ‘A blade of grass’

    You ask for a poem.
    I offer you a blade of grass.
    You say it is not good enough.
    You ask for a poem.

    I say this blade of grass will do.
    It has dressed itself in frost,
    It is more immediate
    Than any image of my making.

    You say it is not a poem,
    It is a blade of grass and grass
    Is not quite good enough.
    I offer you a blade of grass.

    You are indignant.
    You say it is too easy to offer grass.
    It is absurd.
    Anyone can offer a blade of grass.

    You ask for a poem.
    And so I write you a tragedy about
    How a blade of grass
    Becomes more and more difficult to offer,

    And about how as you grow older
    A blade of grass
    Becomes more difficult to accept.

    — Brian Patten

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