At a Lecture on the Pearl-Poet

Poetry was not made for scholars’ benches –
icy fingers tamper with the stream –
greedy fingers lock: their down-grip wrenches
archetypes from an uncatchable dream
that words re-run for us. Editions gleam
with glosses: but the lines are troughs and trenches,
sheer earth-works, dull, behind which scholars seem
to fire off rockets. And the Dreamer blenches

in Pearl and Langland. Poetry was not made
for moles, for minds in minuscule, no eyes
to see, to triumph, to delight in dreams …
we see in poets’ dreams, but in disguise.
Your fingers cannot mar this pearl so screams
a voice beneath the benches, sunk in shade.

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