[continued] At some point I asked Orchyd if she would, in her own time, write a poem with no time constraint. I wanted her to be free to let an idea develop, and said it could be any length she liked. I told her it didn’t matter if she didn’t write one; and not to be worried about asking if she wanted help, or just discussion, during the writing. She did not ask for either, and five days later turned up with an untitled piece that surprised me by its length. She was shy, and rather pleased at my surprise. She said it had taken her two evenings, working about two hours in each; and that she was not happy with all of it, but liked parts. At which point I took it away and read it.

People, people everywhere
A thousand beings
their faces portray nothing. Expressionless!
blanketed in their personal affairs
they drift into their chosen way of life

  Eyes that see
  but become blind
  hearts that feel but soon turn to stone
  Minds that store
  but eventually throw out
  their stock when viewed under light
  But my mind screams for help
  I carry the past
  And make supports for the future
  For me there is no present
  Every forthcoming second is the future
  which turns into a wasted or
  cherished memory
  decisions to make every minute
  every hour
  I spend my most treasured hours bent over my shaft
     in the big machine called life
        And my heart cries out for freedom
  But if I had complete freedom
             could I endure it
  The self centred blank faced forms
  are a great part of life
                  my life
  They cause me to hate
  They cause me to love
  They create situations which make me
  think and consider.

There is the poetry of adults, and of adults half-formed; this is the latter and to me it is touched with greatness. When I first read it I put it aside for a day or two and tried to eradicate my first impression, but the statement is inescapable. Since it was written there has been a vast mass of published poetic output, of the senior variety, which may say any amount in any number of ways, but tends to undergo a lesser journey. Over the years a remarkable amount of outstanding poetry of the young has come my way, and especially at the outset of my career. But no other piece I think, written by young or old of the last half-century, has startled me as this did and does still. In its own way it crosses a waste land.

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