I’m sure it would be easier to survive
as a dead poet; I mean it in the surmise
that I wouldn’t be tempted to revise
or rewrite the poem I wrote last night.
Or the poems I wrote last week which
make me cringe when I read them again,
or when I read the poems of a pimply boy
wracked in the paroxysms of youth –
I will not be seized by mortification, savaged
by towering rage or patronymic patronism,
or simply devastated by how far I’ve come
without apparently moving an inch.
All the while I thought I was improving, faster
to the interior rhyme, quicker to the slick
rhythmic change of pace, the clever about face
in the turning of a line, the sublime ending.
In the final rendering I am still
the same stationary survivor,
alive because I never really
learned how to die.
© 1 July 2007, I.D. Carswell