Letter to Timothy Murphy
Some lines to you in Habbie stanza,
A wee taut daft extravaganza,
Lubricated by three canza
Slug such here, and any man's a
Brief mad hero!
I'm pleased to see your verses, poet
Of certain gift and graced to know it,
For lacking that, you cannot grow it,
No matter how you dung or hoe it,
Growth will not bless.
Your Sunset at the Getty's fine.
In fact I'd almost wish it mine,
So taut and spare in word and line,
Dark poem of all pomp's decline—
The end of sowing!
No art without such knowledge can
Matter a damn to thinking man
Whether in farm or caravan,
That is all one;
That knowledged edge is better than
Bland chirping on.
Your mind is fogged with the barley-bree?
Frankly, it's the same for me.
The luminous masters' verses flee
The whiskied brain-box;
Preparation for the threnody
Of the stopped clocks.
Bunnahabhain and Black Label
Cowp poets in below the table,
Gift them with the tongues of Babel,
Yet doubly—though barely able
To stand up—proud!
Whisky, grief's companion, came
To stake its visionary claim
And show the limits of Earth-fame
In pickled brains;
That roof, nor page, nor face, nor name
In time remains.
The world's a larach at the last,
All splendour's true iconoclast,
Open to the gutting blast
Each future's seed its waiting past,
And silenced nations.
But what of that, we've verse to make
Through city ruin and earthquake
For little but the making's sake
When all is said:
So down with gloom, the old heartbreak,
For verse is bread!
Your syntax punches on the nose,
While mine jouks to avoid such blows,
Not "strained"—your word—though far from prose,
As I admit;
Though often with this poem's flows
I score a hit!
I want my poems to all be knock-outs,
Oases in a land of droughts,
Bright axe-strokes in my mind of doubts,
As Murphy's are;
But ach, my own conviction shouts
Its thrawn exemplar!
Hell, I'll have to leave that style to you,
Be to my complex syntax true
As world is full of many a hue,
As the world's ship has a motley crew,
So poets write.
Yet this raised glass to wish you, there
Across three thousand miles of air
In those sight-losing vistas, where
Your each verse ploughs,
Good whisky, poems, no despair—
And happy sows.........