Guilty

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I have begun to acclimatise myself to the fact that the Book is not coming back.

To lure it back I ransack the shelves looking for a favourite poem to read into the silence, but none comes to my hand.

A thought strikes me, that I am guilty. Just as I have bought, and read, and talked about thousands of poems (and poets), there are several thousand more whose names and dazzling work is still unknown to me. That prizewinning book which everyone was talking about a few years ago? I did not buy it. Everyone seemed to have decided without me: what was the point? That book that swept the board? It is not under my roof. It dawns on me I am guilty of loving only some of the poets, not all of them, praising some, those fierce friends in whose debt I shall forever remain, even and sometimes especially those I have not met and broken bread with, and not others, those others, whose only crime was not to have been the book I picked up in a bookshop, not to have been something I heard about via a friend, not to have been there at the same time. And I run into the street and howl, for even if I read books until I was a hundred and three, I should not come to love all of the poets.

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