Paul Archer - photo Paul Archer - poet, translator



The Choice

Come on, you can't linger there in bed,
not when a poem's ready to climb like Dracula
out of its coffin or burst like a fluttering dove
from the air behind a magician's hands.

Oh, come on, you can't stay there in bed,
not when house-bound children are eager
to run through flower-strewn meadows,
or dash across traffic without looking.

But how we like things exactly as they are,
tied up in their sinews and braced by bones.
We'd rather stay curled under the soft duvet,
so deeply peaceful - and not make the choice:

to climb out of bed, clamber downstairs
and grab pen and paper, dropping into the car
roaring its Formula One engine on the grid
before it races away, not thinking then -

as we negotiate the chicanes of words -
of all those eyes that will never see them,
of all those unstarted or unfinished poems
that disappear into other poets' lives like cats.


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