A household name


I turn the radio on and switch it off again, unable to settle to anything.

There is still no sign of the book.

The purple jumper which I do not need has not yet arrived in the post.

What has arrived is a book of poems by a friend of a friend, a book I feel guilty for not having owned previously, a book I found myself wanting to have an opinion about without actually having read. Now I shall have to read it. I find myself thinking if this poet, whose poems are amazing, who, I find myself thinking, should be a household name, has heard of me, little me, living on the far side of nowhere special, down the end of a track, as I do, with just my thoughts for company. Just as quickly a new thought appears, that they have probably not and that I shall have to go on loving them anyway, from this distance, for the simple fact that their poems are amazing and could not have been written by anyone else. It is how it has always been. Love the poems, not the poet. Let them know if you meet them; otherwise keep it buttoned, expect nothing in return, not even thanks, not even the odd poem. In this way everything is gift, sacred, a bonus. One day I may meet them, read with them even. But probably not. I shall have to carry on savouring their work like this in the darkness, for nothing, owing them nothing but my thanks for writing these incredible poems that only they could have written, savouring them, their work, their priceless work, in the impossible hope that the tremors of my thanks, my amazement, may reach them across the miles. This is what I tell myself as I read them, under the covers, in the darkness, my hand cracking the spine of their book in the very place where I finger their name.


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