Treasure Island

Sally Evans

(1942 / London)


The Muse sent me the second half of a poem.
So, I asked her for a beginning.
She continued to refuse this beginning
because she knows I am seeking a major beginning,
after so many endings not so quick to see
in the water, flashing, a quick strong minnow
silver backed and patterned.
So, I roamed my hills and botched my poem
as poets will, to where she started:

The poem WILD BOAR has to contain
the words PLOD, BRISTLE and ACORN
or anyway OAK. The poem HERON
must have at least three words from PRIEST,
but a dig for remains of things
can never find a SHARD.
Is poetry a dig for remains? Not at all.
Is it a heron? Not entirely.
Is it a wild boar, glimpsed through woods
in a lifetime of clambering,
a frisson, this area dangerous
where the stag might shove,
birds attack or the black tick bore?
Is this poetry poetry?
Or not? “We are sorry to say”
but, truly, guardians of the visible,
overground world, you are glad
to protect your gullible personnel
from lightning and risk from contamination
by those who have seen wild boar.
Boredom is your metier. As little
must happen and as slowly as possible.
Poetry is the impossible art.

Well now, Muse, you infuriatingly Lesbian
and untameable arts administrator,
it's my turn to tell YOU something
as I wander home on my well worn path
through the spring woods, primroses,
coming bluebells,
prostrate bracken,
about-to-disappear snowdropp leaves,
moss and stones and mud
down onto the tarmac.
I can finish this poem myself.


Submitted: Saturday, August 13, 2011

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