"Poietes" means both "poet" & "creator" in Classical Greek.


To me a poem comes when the first gift lines
Smile into my head
Like my wife across the room at parties,
Making me feel good all evening,
Valued in a world of strangers.
I wait, unthinking and yet willing
The words to speak again, and listening
Hear a voice as though reciting
From the turned page of an unwritten volume,
And each line that follows called out from where
My mind is bound like wisps of mist
To the opaque surface of lake water
Very early on a Sunday, sunny morning.


Am I losing my nerve for words
After so many deeds of poems?
Three months dumb as an oyster!
I drift on a calm sea
Not daring to dive to the bottom
To search my dumbness for pearls.

I must go down, cleanly over the side,
And not rock the boat with my doubt and fear,
For after my dive I will need a steady boat
To return to which ever I find;
A pearl when I open my dumbness,
Or emptiness, the constant dread of my kind.

(Written at the Arvon Foundation, Totleigh Barton, 29-11-05)

Come the day when you are older
And bereft of words within your mind,
You will look back on all
The poems you have written
And wonder why they break your heart.
And then you’ll know why
You became a poet - not for fame
Or that fool’s gold ambition,
But for the manhood that made you stand
Naked before the world
And proclaim your love
For life in all its glory and its shame.