Friday, October 23, 2009

Poetry Friday - Great Oz

You are not, nor were meant to be, Great Oz.
On such a scale, of course, you count for nothing.
Still it must mean something that because
of you I've known such sorrow and self-loathing.
Years will pass, of course they will erase
the pain somewhat. Of course. No doubt
in time I'll lose the memory of your face.
It's not a thing I care to do without,
but time goes on. You'll dwindle till you're small,
then smaller, till you're lost to sight. I'm sure
I'll wonder why I wrote these lines at all --
how unimportant, actually, you were.
And when I write my memoirs, I will laugh,
and sum you all up in a paragraph.

Memoirs? Hah. Not bloody likely.
I think it was about this poem that a friend, on reading it, asked me in surprise, "Duncan -- do you want me to tell you how ambivalent that poem is?" Which let me know that I'd achieved what I was trying to do in it. I still wonder sometimes about his reaction, though: Are poems not allowed to be this ambivalent?
Anyway, it dates from 1979 or 1980.