Tag Archives: poetry

How to read Jeremy Prynne

I approach this with some trepidation because I am not yet anywhere near the peak of Mount Prynne but thought a few words may encourage others to undertake the climb.

1. The first thing you will need is regular access to the OED. It isn’t so much that the poems are packed with hard and difficult meanings but Prynne likes to use secondary definitions that you may not be aware of.

2. Wikipedia is your friend because it often gives a useful overview of terms or concepts that may be new to you and frequently gives links to more in-depth information. Google (unless you are very careful with search terms) can sometimes lead you astray- you should always try to make use of the advanced search feature.

3. Know that early on you will decide either that the poems are just  a bunch of words which you don’t have either the time of the inclination to decipher or you will be intrigued and want to know more. Both decisions are entirely valid.

4. Start with one of the Bloodaxe editions. A lot of people start with the earlier stuff in the hope of following a chronological progression. This is a mistake. You should start with the poems that interest you most.

5. Prynne has no interest in making things easy for his readers. There is no single ‘key’ to any of the poems after ‘White Stones’. The perspective of each poem moves about and there are often multiple things going on in the same line.

6. Learn to think laterally, to consider what language can do rather than what it does. Know that Prynne is deeply distrustful of the western consensus view of reality and the role that language plays in that view.

7. At first try not to read too much of what others say about Prynne. This is often a case of academics trying to impress other academics with their erudition and doesn’t provide any kind of help for us readers. It is best to try and make some progress in terms of your own personal response to the poems first.

8. Read as much prose by Prynne as you can find. The latest piece on ‘The Solitary Reaper’ is available from Barque Press and it is an invaluable indication of the way that he thinks about poetry. The AAAARG site has ‘Resistance and Difficulty’ and ‘Tintern Abbey Once Again’- registration required but all their stuff is free.

9.  It will soon become clear from the poems that Prynne’s politics are based on a Marxist analysis and that he’s against most of the things that most of us class warriors are (any form of capitalism, imperialist adventures in far flung places and the fraudulence of bourgeois culture).  This stuff won’t hit you like a sledgehammer but it will crop up from time to time. You may find some of Prynne’s comments on the workings of capital markets to be quite quaint.

10. It is eminently possible to over-read Prynne. I’m currently reading to Pollen and am almost convinced that it refers to his readers as ‘the resilient brotherhood’ and asks whether he is the one ‘inclined’ which I am currently taking to be a reference to Celan’s Meridian Address. I see this as extraordinary but am also well aware that I may be barking up the wrong tree. The word ‘ultramont’ from the opening of the first section I’m taking to be a reference to CERN’s particle accelerator because it is  the only way that the rest of the sentence can ‘work’. Early on, I spent a lot of time worrying about “gross epacts” but have now happily given up.

Prynne likes ambiguity and is careful with his word choice so that nouns could also be verbs and vice versa. He also is prone to Latinity which is about constructing phrases according to Latin rather than English grammar. Great poets have been doing this for centuries- Milton was a major culprit.

You’re either up for these kind of skirmishes or you’re not. I find that I am and my admiration for Prynne has grown as I have gone further in. If you choose to participate you are likely to find that engagement with this body of work will force you to question not only language but also the way in which you experience the world. You will also begin to find that the vast majority of contemporary poetry is intensely mundane and ordinary. If you write poetry then you may find that your voice will be radically altered, this is a good thing providing it’s not just a pale imitation of the man himself.

Somewhere on the web there’s Prynne on “Harmony in Architecture” which is a speech given in China a few years ago. It says nothing about architecture but is a scathing attack on China’s rush for growth. It doesn’t address poetry but it is very witty and completely correct.

Be aware that there will be some days or weeks when the stuff becomes just words. At this point you need to take a break but you will come back for more.

Jeremy Prynne and Geoffrey Hill compare and contrast

Prynne and Hill have many things in common, both have taught at Cambridge, Hill is only four years older than Prynne, both admire Paul Celan and both write poetry that is said to be difficult. They are also the two most important poets in the English language.

If ‘difficult’ means that they write poems that require more than 30 seconds’ attention, then they are clearly difficult. I would argue that ‘difficult’ isn’t a particularly useful term and that we should use ‘complex’ and ‘absorbing’ instead. Both Prynne and Hill are important because they challenge the safe mediocrity that passes for English poetry these days and because they remind us of the possibilities of language.

I’m much more familiar with Hill than I am with Prynne but it has taken four years to achieve an understanding of what Hill may be about. This has been an immensely rewarding experience helped along by frequent reference to the  OED, DNB and Wikipedia. I like to know the politics of the poets that I like and Hill has described himself as a hierarchical Tory and a 19th Century Red Tory. I take him  to mean members of the Ultra Tory faction that aligned themselves with Cobbett at various points during the 1830s. In 2009 this is obviously a minority position to take but it does give a flavour of Hill’s eccentricity.

Both Prynne and Hill are critical of the money markets.  Such vilification has a long and noble history in English politics – we all like to castigate those who appear to do very little for their wealth but Prynne especially goes for knee jerk easy options rather than presenting a more nuanced analysis. In ‘News of the Warring Clans’ he has a go at option trading in this manner and in ‘The Oval Windows’ he has a more obscure go at the manipulation and control of economic data which he describes as ‘work makes free logic’. Work makes free was emblazoned on the gates of Auschwitz and is a phrase that shouldn’t really be used lightly. There is a huge gap between the workings of capitalism and the eliminationist impulse that motivated the Nazis. This aside, Prynne does redeem himself with ‘Refuse Collection’ which is his response to the atrocities committed at Abu Grhaib, a searing indictment of western imperialism and one of the best political poems that I’ve ever read.

Starting to read Prynne can be a daunting experience wherea Hill is intimidating. Prynne is daunting because of the use of words- ‘shut inch’, ‘tree glide’ are examples of the kinds of phrases that I’ve been engaging with in recent weeks which I find oddly involving. Hill is intimidating because of the breadth of his references. ‘Triumph  of Love’ is the only poem that I know of to contain reference to both Gracie Fields and Michel Foucault.  These aren’t particularly obscure but the are others that are (the Lawes brothers, Hallgrimur Petursson, Immelmann to name but three)  which is why Wikipedia and the DNB are so helpful.

One difference between the two is in the use of foreign phrases, Hill tends to translate these as he goes along within the poem whereas Prynne doesn’t. My poor French can make sense of the phrases in that language but I can’t do this with the German. I’m also a bit concerned at the almost random way that Prynne uses French phrases when there are perfectly adequate English ones available.

In terms of the work, I would nominate ‘Mercian Hymns’,  ‘Triumph of Love’ and ‘ Scenes from Comus’ as the finest of Hill’s output, I would nominate ‘Brass’, ‘News of the Warring Clans’, ‘Word Order’ and ‘Refuse Collection’ for Prynne.

What I’m also grateful for is that both have broadened my horizons. Reading Prynne has led to Charles Olson (a revelation), Ed Dorn and Robert Creeley which has caused e to be more sympathetic to American poetry. Reading Hill has led to Hopkins, Southwell and Henry Vaughan. I still don’t like Hopkins but Hill has made me work out why.

Both poets have written poems dedicated to Celan and Celan looms large in their work. Prynnes technique of using words that have multiple meanings and of putting words together in odd ways is redolent of Celan at his best. Hill makes the most direct reference to Celan in ‘The Orchards of Sion” where he has several goes at translating ‘atemwende’  and then speculates about Celan’s taste in women. All of this feels a bit gratuitous.

Who is the best? This depends on what you want poetry to do, if we wish to be reminded of the complexity of reality then Prynne is your man. If we want poems to remind us of our moral obligations and the importance of the natural world then Hill is way out in front. There can be no denying that these two are writing poetry that puts the rest in the shade.

Catching up with Jeremy Prynne

I bought the Bloodaxe Prynne collection ten years ago following recommendations from people that I admire (Carol Rumens, Iain Sinclair and Peter Ackroyd). I started to read in expectation of something wonderful but found instead (apart from the very early stuff) a mass of words that made little sense and became increasingly perplexing with each reading. I did however note one very impressive poem dedicated to Paul Celan.
Lately I’ve been quite severely depressed and my normal source of consolation during recovery is to read Pepys’ diaries but on this occasion I finished the Arcades Project, re-read Boyd Hilton on 19th century England and then turned to Prynne.
I have to report that I have found the Prynne experience to be both frustrating and oddly involving, frustrating because initially some of the phrases don’t make any kind of sense but involving because the search for that sense leads you to think about the world and language in different ways. Reading Prynne has also led me to read Olson’s Maximus Letters (and for that I am profoundly grateful), Heidegger on poetry, Celan and Holderlin.
Whilst I can ‘hear’ the influence of Celan and late Beckett on Prynne I am totally deaf to the voice of Olson in his work even though Prynne is one of Olson’s biggest advocates and spent some time in the mid sixties trying to get the later parts of the Letters into a publishable format.
Prynne’s essay on Resistance and Difficulty is a densely worded argument that points out that every subject puts out various levels of resistance to being understood and that we experience difficulty when we encounter these resistances. He then goes on to say that it is the task of the imagination to gain access to ‘the resistance beyond our several difficulties’. Prynne ends with a quote from Rilke that he feels establishes his point about the quest for a fusion of resistance and difficulty. This seems fair enough to me and would seem to point out some kind of justification for the level of difficulty in Prynne’s work- which seems to be about using ‘difficult’ ways to speak about a world that is very resistant to our comprehension. Incidentally, in this essay Prynne refers fleetingly to the work of Gabriel Marcel. The only other person that I know who refers to Marcel is Geoffrey Hill, that other ‘difficult’ English poet.
I’ve been carrying the Prynne tome around with me and I’ve had a number of comments- “too obscure”, “too intellectual” and “the only poet that’s trying to do something different from the mediocrity that is English poetry but I only like the parts that aren’t incomprehensible”. I’d agree with all of these if I didn’t find reading him so absorbing and if I didn’t find re-reading the ‘incomprehensible’ bits so rewarding. After reading Resistance and Difficulty I then felt that I had to re-read Heidegger on the ‘Origins of the work of art’ which Prynne refers to (using the German title) as “brilliant”.
My relationship with Heidegger has changed a lot over the years. I started with ‘the greatest thinker of the 20th century’ view then moved on the “he was a Nazi but’ view rapidly followed by ‘Being and Time is brilliant but the rest is polluted by a weird kind of German mysticism’ view. My recent view is that worrying too much about the Being of beings is probably a waste of time but I am pleased that someone asked the question. My reading of the Origins this time around was disappointing. I don’t feel that poetry has a “privileged position in the domain of the arts” nor do I feel that “poetry is the saying of the unconcealedness of beings”.I think poetry may be many things but Heidegger fails to convince me (by means of evidence) that it has this privileged position and power.
Still, Jeremy Prynne thinks that this essay is brilliant and I therefore assume that he shares its view and has incorporated this in some way into his practice. This then brings me to the question of the relationship between poetry and philosophy. Should we view both activities as trying to tell some kind of truth? Has philosophy got anything to say poetry and vice versa? Are there dangers when poetry and philosophy get mixed up? I don’t have any kind of answer to these questions other than there is a real danger when any discipline tries to take itself too seriously.
In my attempts to make sense of Prynne, I’ve stuck with two poems- The Warring of the Clans and Word Order. I’ve been able to construe the subject matter in both but there are still bits that I’m falling over. I don’t understand how butter can be ‘bardic’ although I like the juxtaposition nor do I understand how a shadow can be ‘cardiac’ but that may be because I haven’t spent long enough with the OED.
The other question is should we all be following Prynne’s lead or should we be content to write in the ‘mediocre’ tradition? Is Prynne writing himself into obscure oblivion or will he be revered in fifty years time as the only serious English poet?
My view is that we all need to catch up with Prynne because his work is clever and radically different from anything else, I don’t think we should slavishly imitate him but allow his work to inform our own. With regard to posterity, I do hope he gets more notice than what passes for good in the current mainstream.

Poem on the recession

This is a poem by Vimalesh Kumar. Vimalesh is from Kerala in India and is currently working in Muscat, Oman. Vimalesh has so far written just a few poems in English.

Recession

Oh recession you come to this crowd
Like a blackbird singing in a calming night

You threw our nights in filthy water
You swallowed our happy mornings
You took our bagpipe and castle

Oh recession you are so cruel
You dried our gardens, our dreams
You brought summer in your hand
You swore ice in cold, rain in water

Oh recession you come like hurricane
You hold our ways to sky and sea
You put our flights in dark clouds
You shake our island and wiped

Oh recession you come at right
You took us hard to restrict
You made us to believe in god
You stopped our hurry tides

Oh recession you are true
You shown us mere and myth
You bargain on our dreams
You make us to live for a future

Oh recession you are so proud
You save our children to live
You teach them to live in the real

You took their wheels to walk

Oh recession you are so humble
You made us to thank for goodness
You made us not to be pompous
You made us to survive in troubles
You opened our eyes to the future.

Geoffrey Hill- a personal view

I’m approaching this with some trepidation. Many more qualified and erudite people have commented on Hill’s work and I am painfully aware of my own inferiority in terms of education and reading. However, in recent years I’ve spent a llot of time with Hill’s poetry and have recently read his criticism. What follows is an ‘ordinary’ reader’s account of what Hill has to say and the various ways in which he says it.

I’d tried to read Hill about twenty years ago but found the density of language too dense and formidable. I gave him another go in 2005 when he published ‘Scnes from Comus’. I was attracted to this by a rave review from Nicholas Lezard in the Guardian and also by the fact that I was familiar with ‘Comus’ and hoped that Hill might have something interesting to say about Milton’s poem.

Hill’s Comus made me smile, here was a poet clearly confident in his gifts and taking great delight in that confidence. I enjoyed his dexterity and his ability to nail the right phrase at the right time. He also quotes himself  as if tracking back to other brilliant turns of phrase. As for the subject matter, Comus is only tangenitally about Milton’s poem but does contain enough allusions for me to want to argue back (a good sign).  I was smitten and have read this collection many times since.

Geoffrey Hill has since become part of my ‘central’ reading list along with Milton, Spenser and Marvell. I haven’t yet acquired all his poetry so the following is a partial view of the great man.

Hill has a reputation for difficulty. This is entirely justified but it’s a strange kind of difficulty. Most of the poems are littered with references to other writers and their works- half of the pleasure of a Hill poem is in tracking down  those asides. This in itself isn’t all that odd- poets do it all the time- but what is disconcerting is that Hill abhors getting to his point. Most poems seem to contain small bits of meaning along the way rather than a clear theme. The meaning then becomes the summation of those constituent points. Another problem is that Hill’s themes tend to be quite arcane. No doubt Hill would argue that they only appear arcane in our overly materialistic culture. The other problem is that these poems are not written for an audience- Hill writes primarily for himself and is thus free to make few concessions to the reader.

Hill loves language. His criticism is littered with closely argued expositions on the meaning of indivual words at certain periods in history. His poetry is a celebration of the diversity and strength of language. I refuse to believe that anyone can have such an extensive vocabulary and am currently trying to spot which words he’s looked up in the OED prior to using. It’s a good game.

Hill is a committed Christian. His faith allows him to write movingly about figures such as Robert Southwell and Henry Vaughan. I am sure that he’s entirely comfortable with the ‘prophet’ mantle that others have given him. Hill’s faith should not however deter the lay reader- the religious bits are often beautifully done but you don’t have to agree with them.

It is possible to argue with Geoffrey Hill. In ‘Orchards of Sion’ he makes several references to ‘Atemwende’ and has several goes at elucidating its meaning. ‘Atemwende’ is the title of a collection of poems by Paul Celan and it means ‘breathturn’. I’m not happy with Hill’s various renditions of the meaning of ‘turn’ and feel that he misleads the reader. In ‘Comus’ Hill worries about the word ‘haemony’ which may be an allusion to the fact that we’ll never know what Milton meant by it but it kind of gets in the way.

Geoffrey Hill can be tender and humane. His poem about Gillian Rose  is moving and respectful in a way that she would have appreciated. It also shows that he’s read ‘Loves Work’ which must be impressive.

Geoffrey Hill has had mental health problems. From the one reference to lithium in the poetry, I take it that he’s bipolar. Hill’s poetry can be gloomy but he’s never written (as far as I can tell) from the depths of depression. Some critics seem to make much of Hill’s late productivity and put this down to finding the right treatment.  I don’t think it works like that, the tone of the later work may be more bright but that’s probably due to confidence rather than medication.

Hill tells jokes in his poems, most of them aren’t very funny.

Geoffrey Hill can be a complete bitch. When Hill doesn’t like something he can be both nasty and scathing. He’s also an elitist snob who doesn’t like anything that may have mass appeal.

Without doubt Geoffrey Hill is the best poet currently writing in English. Everyone should get to know him.

Having a good time with poetry

Robert Peake’s piece “on Ashbery and surprise” where he quotes Robert Frost on the importance of having a good time when writing a poem has got me thinking about  those poems that so obviously gave pleasure to the poet. I know that, as a reader, I get added satisfaction where the poem has been written with pleasure as if I’m sharing in the poet’s virtuosity. As a writer of poetry there’s also that admiration of someone else’s skill.

I think that having a good time is about setting out to do something quite difficult and then finding that you can do it quite well, about showing off the new found skill and about taking delight in the effect that you have created.  Book 3 of Paradise Lost for example is Milton’s attempt at setting out a quite complex theological argument by depicting God in conversation with Christ and thereby explaining the “ways of God to men”. This is brilliantly acheived and the pleasure that Milton derived from this shines through on every line. Now, we can’t all be John Milton but we can take pleasure in his achievement.

On a lesser scale, the same can be said about Edmund Spenser’s depictions of sex and violence in the Faerie Queen.  These are brilliantly realised, Spenser takes enormous relish in describing the fights between the various Knights and gives the reader a very clear sense of the extreme violence involved in medieval combat. It could be argued (and has been by Virginia Woolf) that Spenser got carried away with his own ability and put too many fights into the poem but that doesn’t mean that he didn’t get enormous pleasure from writing them. With regard to sex,  Spenser gives a lengthy and detaile description of the Bower of Bliss in Book 2 only to have his hero destroy it. The authorial voice throughout is consistently disapproving of lust and lustful acts yet his description of these is very alluring. I’m convinced that he really enjoyed writing about sex but was also aware that this conflicted with his overall aim (fashioning the virtues).

Moving into the 20th century, TS Eliot clearly had a great time writing  “The Waste Land”, for all its melancholic overtones this is a poem (and there aren’t many) that broke new ground and Eliot must have been aware when he was writing it of the fact that it “works”. There is a confidence in the poem that indicates that Eliot had discovered that he could write it and that he really enjoyed the creative process.

In 1962 John Ashbery published a collection of poems “The Tennis Court Oath”, this book received almost universal opprobrium as critics felt that it was far too obscure and experimental. One poem, “Europe” is particularly difficult but even here the great time that Ashbery had in writing it stands out. Reading it now it comes across as the work of someone who is confident of his gift and is taking pleasure at pushing that gift to its limits.

The great Elizabeth Bishop wrote a poem called “The Moose” which she published in 1976. This is a poem which tells a story about a bus journey but it is packed with such elegant detail that the reader shares the journey.  This is a poem whereby Bishop displays her skill in such a loving way that her pleasure  is displayed for all to see and share.

Coming up to date, Geoffrey Hill also had a good time composing “A Treatise on Civil Power”. Hill is a controversial character and this poem is full of the trademark allusions to obscure foreign writers, “difficult” pieces of music and descriptions of nature. Nevertheless this poem represents a poet at the peak of his abilities who is making a difficult argument and making it very well. His confidence has grown enormously over the last ten years and this has been a joy to follow.

When I started this I wanted to make the point that writing poems doesn’t have to be an  agonised tussle with language. Now, I also think that the fact that people write poetry is in itself a cause for celebration and we should try to be a little less precious about it.

Poem about poetry

Larkin hated poems about poetry but I can’t seem to get away from them. I think that’s probably because I get really immersed in the process (drafting, writing, reading out loud etc) and I am infinitely curious about the way other people do it. Anyway, what follows was kick-started by a Geoffrey Hill essay  on John Ransom Crowe. What I hope I’ve done is put together a slightly tongue-in-cheek riposte to those who take poetry too seriously.

Nights in the pub

Man walks into a bar,

says:

(to no-one in particular)

“I’m looking for the monad”.

The two bar staff exchange glances

and shuffle their sweating feet.

The older one says:

“We haven’t had a monad in here

since a week last Tuesday”.

The man says: (to them)

“You two don’t even know what a monad is”.

At which the younger one gets all indignant,

pours himself a drink and leans across the bar:

“The monad is Eliot’s still and moving centre,

the compression of feeling, the true object of all poetry.”

He’s strangely impressed and orders a drink- double malt with ice.

Night after night he drags himself down there

to the bar on top of the sea,

night after night he drinks himself drunk,

notebook by his side

as the waves drench the rocks.

Then, one fateful night,

they greet him and say:

“The air’s thick with it tonight-

can’t you smell it?”

And he could, the air was warmer

and carried the scent of burning orchards.

All he had to do was wait.

Then,  at ten past ten, it all started to begin.

The plaintive cries,

the women in their thirties,

the long, long sighs,

the silent sobbing inside,

the older men,

the glazed euphoria.

10 or 12 all at once,

he sat fixed to the  bar

he took notes

(as you would),

he sweated,

he cried,

capturing every last angle that he could.

By 11 it was all over

and he went home,

pissed,

to sleep.

The next morning with coffee and a smoke

he opened his notes only to find

that he couldn’t read a fucking word.

All squiggles and blotches

as if the truth demon had erased

the revelation in the night.

He tried to make things out,

he really did,

but the only words that were left were:

heartbreak;

light;

and

coruscation.

Poetry and madness

As someone who has experienced severe (suicidal) depression on a number of occasions, I feel duty bound to point out that there is nothing interesting about despair. It’s a flat banal place where any kind of language is difficult to come by. There are many poets who have experienced the depths of despair and alluded to these in  their work, some have done this brilliantly (Paul Celan) others have taken the opportunity to cash in on the myth of depressive as genius (Robert Lowell).

Either way, I do want to dispel the myth that being in despair is in any way  interesting. The first time is quite frightening  but after that it is very, very boring. It’s also deeply unpleasant but it doesn’t convey any great insight nor does it signify any special status on the desperate.  I’m not suggesting that people should stop writing poems about their despair but I do think that it’s time to call a halt to the mystique that surrounds what is a very ordinary condition.

Mania is a different matter, it is true that people in mania can have periods of excessive creativity and that some can put this down in verse (I can’t) and I think we should celebrate this. The problem with mania is that most of what you produce is utter rubbish but there are always a few glimmers that are worth hanging on to. When I’m well, I am able to edit out the dross and re-work some of the most florid scribblings but it is impossible for me to make mthose judgements in full-blown mania.

So, depression is a state that affects many poets but let’s not get carried away with the notion that mad poets have access to some inner truths. They don’t.  Let’s not make the equation between creativity and insanity- it doesn’t exist.

Poetry and the recession part two

I’ve finally written the poem on our economic malaise. I’d been thinking about this for weeks but what finally put it together for me was the fact that the FT published the names of the guilty men on Saturday- these were the guys that came up with the hocus pocus that broke the banks and everyone else. I’ve also been immersing myself in the early 19th century and the role of rapacious financiers was as much a concern then as it is now.

So, I’ve written some polemic which hopefully distills the problem into something more manageable.   I’ve also resisted the temptation to prescribe a socialist/anarchist solution because that would require prose and I can do that elsewhere.

Demchack and Masters

It’s okay, I’ve found them.

The first guys, the flimmers and the flammers

Who first wrapped things up

They’re called Demchack and Masters

Worked for JP Morgan

And they cleaned up big time.

Then there’s Joe, Joe Cassano  over at AIG,

He took on the risk (which was too small to count)

and took the cash.

Then there were CDOs and SIVs and leverage

And A sold a piece to B

And B paid with money from C

Who was laying this off with D

But that’s okay cos it’s all triple rated.

Then the black folks wanted a house

But they were dirt poor

But nobody cared or seemed to notice

And gave them the money anyway.

During all of this jubilation

Nobody mentioned,  perhaps they forgot

That the free market isn’t actually free.

Nobody said, least of all me,

That there’s always a price to pay.

So now the black folks have nowhere to live,

The banks are broken and the currency’s fucked

And we don’t make things any more.

Sixty grown men chasing one job

All because we forgot

All because the sun was shining

And frankly we didn’t care.

Love poem

I don’t do this very often, probably because I’m not good with emotions and the world is already full to bursting with  poems about love. This one started with a documentary on Derrida where, in exasperation, he made the statement about love that’s in the poem- that got me to thinking about my own feelings for my partner and this in turn led to the poem which is, if anything, an affirmation of the life we’ve shared together since 1970. The documentary is really good- a bit like watching God taking a piss.

Nettski

Jacqui says (and he should know)

There are two types of love

The love of qualities and

The love of the essential,

My love for you is of the second kind.

Jacqui says this poem

is in a frame marked “poem”.

Whilst it is true,

I do love the inside of your thighs,

Your smile, the things you think,

The way you check yourself out,

That’s not why I love you,

Then I get to thinking about essence,

Give some consideration to soul.

Then I see that my love for you

Is implacable, takes no prisoners

Is about the You of You,

The storm within the storm,

The deep inside and the eyes that smile.

I love you.

Jacqui is a clever man,

He’s read three or four books very very well,

He frets about his wife in the kitchen,

And eats lemon curd for breakfast

But he’s only half-right about love,

You cant split qualities from essence,

One reflects the other,

immutable, for ever.

I really love the you of you.