I embraced the ambiguity like a bride
Who fears disclosing that her face is fake
And while we’re on the subject, I take pride
In stealing water colours from the lake
Ambiguous in intentions we don’t know
We send out signals full of first class news
If this rebounds an artist might then show
Our vision rests upon our point of view
Seventeen types of clarity are mine
Fifteen from my mind and two from pride
From this glass I make a view divine
Though Sunday someone said they thought I lied.
Ambiguously ,we hover by the scales
Trying to glimpse another through their veil.
Williams admits in these lines that poetry is often difficult. He also suggests that a poet depends on the effort of a reader; somehow, a reader must “complete” what the poet has begun.
Sometimes when bereft I’d love a snail
Though it might wet my bed with silvery trails
Would snails be lonely living in my house?
Shall I be but fit to love some louse?
I hugged a rowan tree and now it’s dead
The council said they’ll give me oak instead
It stood upon the pavement by the gate
But now it is what McCall Smith calls “late”
I wonder if self massage is the thing
Some perfumed lotion stolen on the wing.
I stroked my arms with Cream E45
Now they say I’m not allowed to drive!
I was sad but now I am at peace
All I needed was a plate of eggs and grease.
I empathise with ladies in great need
Though I prefer a cape where they like coats
But I have got a crutch and cannot speed
Nor can I with my smartphone walk and read
But shall I help the blind to lose their creeds?
In my hand I carry a large tote
Full of silken scarves and hearts that bleed
I can’t buy any clothes for I’ve no space
Yet in the autumn women like new coats
I wonder should I transform my pale face
And wear a golden necklace for its grace
Though it might prick a lover in embrace
At least it would sort out the men from goats
As I ran off and thousands were in chase
On the road to Dent there was a pool
A river in the dale had made a loop
So out your clothes and into it you lept
While tame sheep wandered round me in a group
Eating ginger biscuits as they trooped.
On the road to Dent there is a pool
To pass it by,you’d have to be a fool
I do not wish to feel this sadness now
But who decides,who chooses what we feel?
If I were strong I might use a large plough
To knock my feelings level when they grow
Bur that is not allowed by God and co.
Yet who denies his measuring the real?
I do not wish to feel this sadness now
Think, who derides,who cackles when we feel?
The possibility of suffering being redeemed by art, being made meaningful and thus real (as opposed to merely actual, something that happens to exist, happens to occur), is still vital to me. Art reminds us of the uniqueness, particularity, and intrinsic value of things, including ourselves. I sometimes have little sense of myself as existing in the world in any significant way outside of my poetry. That’s where my real life is, the only life that’s actually mine. So there’s also the wish to rescue myself from my own quotidian existence, which is me but is at the same time not me at all. I am its, but it’s not mine. For most of us most of the time, life is a succession of empty moments. You’re born, you go through x experiences, you die, and then you’re gone. No one always burns with Pater’s hard, gem-like flame. There’s a certain emptiness to existence that I look to poetry, my own poetry and the poetry of others, to fulfill or transcend. I have a strong sense of things going out of existence at every second, fading away at the very moment of their coming into bloom: in the midst of life we are in death, as the Book of Common Prayer puts it.
In that sense everyone is drowning, everything is drowning, every moment of living is a moment of drowning. I have a strong sense of the fragility of the things we shore up against the ruin which is life: the fragility of natural beauty but also of artistic beauty, which is meant to arrest death but embodies death in that very arrest. Goethe’s Faust is damned when he says, “Oh moment, stay.”