house of happy

Life adventures in prose and verse. Explorations of places, people and words. Stories and fun.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

44 days, 22

Today is Alastair's birthday. I'm re-reading his 'Weathering' – do you know, it's the most fabulous book of verse. More than ever before, I am touched. Poetry is for me like water, innumerable bodies of water; and as a fussy swimmer, I may find some a bit cold, too fast or too shallow, muddy or twisted in whirlpools, or the day windy, or the current too strong. Sharp rocks on the bottom, steep banks, too hard to get in and out, floating debris.

Well today, Alastair's verse is to me the perfect river.

To Alastair

You say ''we fall to silence under the burning sun
and feel the great verbs run''
I say 'I've sometimes seen
some of your verbs so still
I didn't dare to breathe
and I will
swear with ease
that I've seen others fly:
comets lashing across a future sky,
clouds full of burning hailstones, rockets
shot from the pen
you keep inside your pockets.

You say ''I am old enough now for a tree
once planted, knee high, to have grown to be
twenty times me,''
I say 'You know Alastair,
We have a sweet patch of land
for its new tree
(a tree that grows words would be good,
between you and me, but really,
any tree would do)
and wouldn't it be true
that such a tree, so new
would make you
new too?

You say 'Curiosity may have killed the cat'
I say 'Alejandro, what
Kind of talk is that?
Oh, I see what you're getting at...
you who would part with your last dime
to find, behind each petty chat
a rhyme
and what this curious cat of yours
will possibly
about that deeper, darker, greener, warmer
side of hill...'

You say 'What a day it is!
(and then you say that other stuff, about paying for it,
not once but three times you are saying
and then a thousand times
'OK, OK, amigo
tell me then, what other men
(what hunters so keen on their marks)
would leave their vanquished prey
like you do -
''on long thin strings of singing''
belonging to your dawn-bedazzled larks?'

You say ''Flowers bloom at ease without being told''
I say 'Dearest, I know - and I hope you're also starting to suspect -
you will never never never grow old!'

You say ''Now,
play the tune again!''


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