in so many words

consider the geography of your utterance
its highlands – valleys – plateaus
its backways tracks and roads
then you will have traveled a good way in a day
and know where the line-breaks go

I was taught poetry by a map-maker
a walker
a man of the lakes and fells

this is what he tried to tell me
in so many words

articles of faith

the monastery on the hillside there
was established in the twelfth century
it was used as a detention centre
by the nazis during the occupation
was turned into a casino after the war
and is now a psychiatric institution

actually I made all that up
except for the latter
trust me – I’m a poet
I employ colourful matter
to establish a truth
or at least a particle

indefinite article

a poet must concern himself
with everything and all
from the nature of the soul
to hell’s darkest hole
and he must take risks
soothe troubled minds
and not just his
but all mankind’s
and that is the truth
more than a particle

definite article

shall we talk about the sea now
you and me

or shall we talk about the sky now
you and I

no smoking on the coach please

[first posted 4/6/2015]