Explanation to an Academic

She who lectured on Beckett
expected more from a poet.
It’s getting late, she said,
perhaps a steely prose is required.
I explained.
Poems are trapped passengers
unable to decide how to tackle
the assailant.
You see them through
the grimy windows of the page.
You see the still-born poems
necking embalming fluid,
anything to forget how intractable
the knife,
how many fresh worms swim
gleefully in the wound.
I pointed to a vast empty hangar.
There in a corner they pile
the limbless dreams.
Those without them –
mammon’s white chieftains,
drive the stake deep in.
But even they rip a leaf from a hedge
and inhale the aroma of its broken life.
Even they worry about their lame dog,
work an arm steaming with blood
around their sleeping wife.
Even they, in decay’s grey wash
surface their shark snouts
to tear at the vacancy
for a mere soul sinew
a rib of love.
Will Stone
from Glaciation (Salt, 2007)
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