To a Younger Poet

by on May 14, 2024 :: 0 comments

How little perhaps words can convey except in the hands of a genius. Though I am a creative person, I am a puritan rather than an aesthete. I know human life is terrible. I know that it is utterly unlike art. I have no religion except my own task of being. Conventional religions are dream stuff. Always a world of fear and horror lies a millimetre away. Any man, even the greatest, can be broken in a moment and has no refuge. Any theory which denies this is a lie. For myself, I have no theories.
– Iris Murdoch, From The Black Prince, p., XVIII.

This day is threaded with sunlight.
Returning to old places
And to familiar things
I sit here weighing
Each single word,
One against another.

In this hunt for meaning
The prey eludes me,
For remembered yesterdays
Must remain silent;
Forever lost
In the medium of memory:
They happened long ago.

Spaces and movement guide me
Away from white rocky shores
That threaten to silence me.
My treasured prey hides in silence.

I look up from the page;
The world quickly calls me away
From these dusty places.
I need a higher court,
Beyond words;
Here I can only use words
To appeal to words.

Words cage me.
I pace each line away
As I weigh one connotation
Against another.
I can only balance each word
Against something inarticulate;
Something beyond words.

I hunt phantoms,
For I can only articulate,
I can only express,
Through this network of meaning
What I know is true.

Looking outside into the world
I think back to other days;
Days now lost to silence.

Rain begins to fall;
Such soft sounds
As each drop hits the ground.

Yesterdays bring forth;
How a few words
Would bring such joy to her eyes.
This memory drags with it
Many listless regrets:
Words that should never have been said
So many left unsaid.

editors note:

When scab turns to scar, picking heals nothing. – mh clay

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