No More Eliot, She Said

He was a long farewell, not leaving.
He had poetry in his pocket
and history in his grip.
He would not let go.
She was not one to polish his name.
She punished him with sneers
and damned his worth with words.
Words have weight, can kill.
But he had many lives, the old cat.
He would not go, would not let go.

He sought an heir to his craft,
a poem's poet, a poem-made poet,
a heart of luminous verses,
verses of incense and perfume,
words like totems, standing tall,
poems that wear great coats
and sound like seas,
like warm springs, cutting their path,
bursting loose, breaking into song.
Fluent rhythms, miracle phrases,
vast visions of wastelands,
odes to Madam Prufrock.

He was a practical cat,
would not go, would not let go.
With prying eyes, he searched her out,
looking beyond the outward masks,
feeling for juice, spreading her out,
exposing her soft places, her creative spaces.
Because every poem has an inner chamber,
a secret place of sweat and birth,
the centre of its making or unmaking.

He offered a hand, she turned him down.
He offered a kiss, she mocked his age.
He offered his faith, she pointed at death,
not knowing the agony of wanting God,
not wanting the agony of knowing God.
Only the eloquence of the loss,
poems moulded with the earthen stuff
of which our lives are made.


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