GRANT FRASER (JUNE 7 1964 / ABERDEEN)
The Poets Disciple
I once read a book about
a certain poet and got
carried away - I mean literally!
I went down to the pub
where I was working, and said:
'Can I put in 2wks. notice? '
Spent the best part of a year
thinking about it,
I'd taken off to North America
not long before, but never on
such a whim as this one,
You see, I was under a spell,
and had fell, headfirst, into
this famous dead french poets
I'm going on a pilgrimage
to his hometown in France,
So I jumped on a coach to Dover,
then I took a ferry over,
but when I got into Calais,
it was far too early,
all the shutters were down...
But I bumped into a rich Australian
couple I had drinks with earlier,
driving this big gold luxury car,
C'mon - we're going to Paris!
and they dropped me off at the Nord,
in the dark, where I was solicited
hourly, by this gay old randy Frenchman
who wanted me to come with him,
'look I stay just there! - you can
sleep on sofa - I promise no touching! ',
But I had my duty free whisky to keep me warm,
and spent the early hours just dreaming,
about the next leg of my journey!
Later that morning, got my ticket from
the billet box and got on the train,
it was so sunny and beautiful,
and I was off on one again,
on a journey across the vineyards
and champagne, as I thought of Joan Of Arc,
or the flashing blade!
When I got off at Railroad Square,
everything was resplendent and juicy
after a shower of light rain,
and there was the Cafe Universe,
just near-bye, an old haunt of his,
But I just walked through Charleville
town like a disciple sworn to Mecca,
it was so colorful,
and I, as high as a kite!
more sacred than sacred...
For I had arrived -
the poets disciple,
Then i found the millhouse,
which is now a Rimbaud Museum,
So I spent an hour inside,
looking at all the nostalgia,
photographs and letters,
things he took back
from the heart of Somalia,
I was his tin cup - that caught
my best response,
for I envisaged myself,
having a drink from it,
as thirsty as I was,
I mean would it - put me into a spin,
could I be illuminated,
there and then?
Yet he dumped the whole idea
the 'Hottentot' they called him,
the tough mysterious looking man
with the piercing blue eyes,
But that afternoon, along the banks
of the Muese, I got even drunker,
at the thought of being so close...
So later that night, when everyone
was asleep, I propped myself up
on the lopsided doorstep of his house,
and imagined myself standing
where he might have stood,
Then I kipped in my Bivvy bag,
all night by the river,
swigged from my bottle,
and watched the stars quiver,
but some of them
just simply burned out...
Next morning I stank a bit,
and the mosquitos had made a feast
of me, So I took a bar of soap
and jumped into the Drunken Boat River,
Then I decided I would visit the poet idol,
as if we were expecting me - the poets disciple,
As I remember now - it was somewhere around,
two forty five,
But it all took the shape of an upward
and the whole purpose fell
out with my dreams,
shot me down,
with considerable bullets,
You know, because he once made something
of a gesture,
'you don't salute death, do you - he spat! '
as a close friend of his took of his hat,
while watching a procession of mourners,
And all this comes back to me -
as a sort of present mimicry,
'visiting the dead today are we...'
Then a sort of pretend argument ensued...
and i didn't know what to do!
Arthur Rimbaud was definitely interned
there, and I hung around for a bit,
quibbling over details and bullshit,
It's a long way to come, and not really know,
but there you are,
the impetus of poetry and living it,
was once there...
Comments about this poem (The Poets Disciple by GRANT FRASER )
Top 500 Poems
The Road Not Taken
If You Forget Me
Still I Rise
Edgar Allan Poe
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
William Ernest Henley