...and the last shall be first...
(for my friend who is Michael Venditozzi)

Standing in the inter-carriage Bardo
(the train is late in reaching Bristol,
so I'm standing longer than expected)
a few things happen
(as the train slows down, a grim cemented back yard passes us;
an uncalled-for peacock swish-ambles across it)
and I know I'm going to write this.
No apologies.
I've never written a poem to someone before
apart, that is, from the obligatory unsent distress signals
of adolescent love
but you taught me the evils
of propagating poesy in the soil
of the first found final line
and so, of course, being me, I arise
self-consciously defiant
to do that very thing
knowing you will understand why, and why
when I let you get to the end (not far now,
so no cheating).
After the delight of our weekend together
and being no longer adolescent, I've the pleasure
of writing this to you because I love you,
and I give you a gift I know you will appreciate
a thing of Beauty accidentally unearthed
in the cookbook Mrs Beeton wrote
I hope she glimpsed her own power as she was writing this,
which stints not from raising the hairs on the back of my neck:
“Gently break the heart of a young lettuce”.


© 2000 Dharmachari Padmavyuha back...