The poem always wins

Yes. All this.

Anthony Wilson


You think it will be about your childhood. It turns out to be about an onion.

Or a night in the rain, or, not so much night, as just: rain. Except it isn’t about rain either.

Somehow your daughter has crept in there.

She is smiling at you, when she was six. It is breaking your heart.

So the poem has all these things going on in it, on and underneath its surface.

Mixed in there are the friendships with other poets, as they look over your shoulder frowning at what you have written.

The thing your grandmother once said to you about hardly being Wordsworth, darling.

Your desk. Its hardness, for you, now, under these words, and then, for the man who owned it before you.

So it is back to your childhood. A blazing summer playtime. Grass in your face and down your shirt. Nettles, the sudden realisation.

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