You may be noticing a trend here. However it is similar to how I write in general thoughts percolate for a while before the words come so I will continue and just aim to write 31 small stones this month and accept the schedule may vary. I was at the Royal Exchange Theatre Reading last night with my friends Rebecca Audra Smith of Stirred fame and Joseph Hobson read along side Carol Ann Duffy and Sean O Brien. It was a wonderful reminder of the longevity of a poets career and that in general with dedication to the craft and engagement with the world and language our work only improves with age. It produced two.
Two older poets one with a selected collection the size of brick and the other our laureate with a career long enough for a new selected of her own both read poems about Thatcher written decades apart. Both joke they are about Meryl Streep, giving voice to way history is rewritten in the modern world, how people are beautified and their old bones picked clean of the real inadequate flesh and remodelled leaner, more appealing, more human, less falliable and all their crimes diminished by an actor’s anguish.
For one anguished minute I think you are telling someone you are giving up poetry and I feel like the thing that I cling to most fervently is being cast aside by you in search of a more balanced adult life. I think that you who spills out poetry like a never ending milk jug would have no luck giving it up, a bad habit, hiding tiny notebooks in the bottom of your handbag, haiku in your phone’s text messages, composing sonnets on your order pad at the restaurant. Someone would catch you one day with deliciously thin spined collection and you’d squeak ”its just one”. You turn around and I realise I misheard the whole thing, you can no sooner give this up than I can. My relief is palpable I would miss the way our work intertwines and veers off from each other, no one can edit me better than you.