Poetry: In Your Own Time | clivejames.com
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In Your Own Time

Ridi, Pagliaccio

Back to the gate, back to the lounge, back to
The shuttle bus, the same airport hotel,
This flight continues to go nowhere. You
Long ago realised that you would do well
Not to complain at one more wasted day:
The flight is going nowhere anyway,

And there is nothing wasted as you learn —
Almost as if life had begun again —
To use the time, to read, to write, to earn
Your keep. That you are frail like other men
Is now proved, with a force that even you
Can’t laugh off. What we are is what we do.

Back, then, to what you do best. Give a thought
The curve of words that makes a wing of it.
Get one more line to sing the way it ought.
Anything well expressed is holy writ:
Your occupation, even now, when time
Is almost gone, is honest. It’s no crime

To spend these stolen hours as if your fate
Depended on the balance of a phrase.
It always did, and even now, so late,
As your pen feels its way through the word maze,
The thrill of getting things exactly right
Prepares you for the long flight through the night.