Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Kit Kelen #393 - I set out to find my readers

I set out to find my readers

always knew they were out there somewhere
(a boutique group, albeit)

looked under stones, all turned already
I looked through a glass and darkly
(poets lurking there in wait)

I burst into classrooms and churches
as any masked gunman would do
but no, they were reading some boring guff
bank balances and excel sheets

often enough
they hymned themselves off

I combed the libraries and schools
all at the shelves of 'practical interest'
thinking ahead to meaningless toil

out in the playgrounds
anthems were sung
all I could do was jot notes

then up the garden path
among the hearts and minds
even those very few who read poetry
each had something classic to hand
you had to be dead to get in

tried radio
but they wanted either to sleep
or to bang their heads
only the news between

so I took to teaching
wrote the textbook
I made them read my stuff
but it wasn't the same thing

the soul may not exist
but you'll notice when it's gone

I had all but given up
trying to find the genuine reader

when one day I saw stranger on a train
holding my book open

(oh and I'd tried trains and buses before
I'd had my poem up on the walls there
at an angle no strap dangler could hope to avoid
but it was advertising to them)

now here was a stranger
reading my book
rhythm of the wheels go round
rhythm of the tracks

I could see the words getting out
tangling with a willing mind
was that sub-vocalisation I caught?
it might have been a lip twitch, still...

of course it was tempting
just to strike up a conversation

after all it was clear
we had something in common

but this stranger's face
was a fascinating study
a poem in itself

how could I break my own spell?

I took a vow of silence then
I had to resist this temptation
(and I've stuck with this
ever since)

I had to get off at my stop

the train went on
and that stranger
who must have found enlightenment

has never been seen again

such little things
we let sustain us
in this our chosen life


  1. Who said never read the reviews? Breaking our own spells. A fine (and funny) poem.

  2. I made this experience too and yes, it's very special!


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