RDW's poems

Poems that need no introduction

1. The Introduction

At The Reading, we get the soft drinks first
— before they open the real, the harder stuff —
They Introduce: the who and where and when
and, surprisingly often, tell us the why.

I’d like to write this poem so that it needs
no codebook, no crib to the decryption,
no rosetta stone to break the ideograms
into something approaching the intelligible.

I’d like you and this poem to bump into each other
like total strangers meeting at a corner,
too suddenly, and one knocked down, and one who picks
the other up and then tells him the story of his life.

Just then and there and totally, as you walk along
and beat the dust from off your trouser legs.

I always liked the introductions best.
That’s where you get the little bit of laugh,
if any.  And modesty shows through — if any, again.
And what it’s all about – if anything.

If there is anything the Poet can say besides
‘I had to write this stuff’ he says it then
— she says it then — gives us the spiel
and after, after the communication, you get the poem.

I’d like to write this poem so that it needs
no-one to introduce The Poem to you.
It just walks up and shakes you by the hand
all by itself and you know what it is,

because it sits right there in front of you,
and isn’t any more – or any less –
than what you see.
That’s what I’d like to do.

London 2002

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