Poetry: Night-Walker’s Song | clivejames.com
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Night-Walker’s Song

How strange, that now my strength is sunk so low,
My powers of handicraft have reached their height,
Starting new poems even in the night
So I must, cursing, rise, and slowly go
Downstairs to settle at my desk and write
Until my kitchen fills with the dawn light,
And pages fill, too, with fresh stanza frames
I fancy rich and sweet as honeycomb,
Black holes on paper where starlight, instead
Of hiding, comes back sparkling from the dead.
Why don’t I think that these are just word-games
A broken man plays in the nursing home?
What if this upsurge is a weakness too,
The last flare of a fever overdue
To break these many years? But surely not:
Look at the park parade of what I’ve said —
A Chinese opera among table-tops,
The Russian Ballet and the Keystone Kops,
The dust of diamonds from a pepper pot,
Colours and metals out of Camelot —
And envy me as I trudge back to bed.
A whole new day is here, and still I live
To strut my stuff, give what I have to give.
Though it might not be much, it is my best
And while it comes to me I know no rest,
But must be at it, threading syllables,
Timing the wind chimes, balancing the bells,
Until each line reveals the harmony
Of its creation by destroying me:
Always my fate, still my imperative.
I serve the joy-spring of the language. Let
Me pass, therefore. I am not finished yet.
I merely need to sleep awhile, and then,
Perhaps before nightfall, begin again.