The Friday Poem on 20/08/21
We chose Chris Edgoose’s poem ‘Portrait of the Poet as an Artist’ because it is so sure footed, so quietly confident. It’s about more than Michelangelo’s sculpture, it’s about the business of writing a poem — the notion that a poem is waiting fully formed and all the poet has to do is remove the parts that don’t belong — and it’s about how we learn about ourselves as we write, and do best if we see our position as being part of a greater whole. It’s hard to get away with use of big abstract words like ‘history’, ‘time’, and ‘existence’, but Edgoose earns every one.
Portrait of the Poet as an Artist
The Pity was waiting for Michelangelo
in a perfect block of Carrara marble,
and in its carving he learned the weight,
the hang, and the fold of his own heart,
whose hidden dimensions in the Alpi Apuane
had been revealed by the work of men,
not a single man or woman, matter,
like history flowing through time, water
where no one atom is alone or still.
And this is the matter of writing a poem,
to carve one’s heart in lines of ink
and not just learn it into brief existence
but to release it into history’s river
where every word is shared experience.