Why does that page look so white?
Why is it only half full?
You don’t like poems and fair enough
you take in an eyeful of words
and then the words stop short
making space on the right, your space
making time on the right, time for your mind
to wander, so you float away
to your brother rowing across Cook Strait
or your mother who never went to church
or a film you saw the other day.
That’s good, feel free
that’s why the lines are chopped
that’s what white space is for.
This is a single runaway non-poem.
I’m seventy-eight, that’s not very old
but it’s getting late
so I’m rushing at this like a bull at a gate.
So much living done and dusted
none of it ordinary, all of it ordinary
some of it wanting to turn into a story
all of it mine and all of it yours.
I could be arcane, I could be smart
I could crochet the strings of your heart
I could be clever, I could be wise
douse my words in splendour and surprise
but now that I’m staring at my own demise
I’m in a rush to beat the deadline.
So read it aloud in a lonely room
or read it with friends in a Long Song huddle
or read in peace to somebody dear
who has to be fed mushy food with a spoon
and here’s the deal
I’ll stop talking to myself
and talk to you.
I see this (partly) as a poem about how to read a poem, for people who don’t like poetry. I wonder what you think about this?
Image and poem and voice by Rachel McAlpine, CC BY 2.0: that means feel free to share them, but always attribute them to me. Thanks!