“Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal.” T.S.Eliot
Today, I have the happy task of being bartender at dVerse Poetics Pub. This means I get to talk with all the folk in the community who make comments. I also get to choose a prompt. We often speak of someone who inspired us to write. I am asking our community to write about the poet and their poem that inspired them to begin writing. I am also asking them to take the prompt farther and if possible, write the poem in the style of the inspiring poet. My inspiration is T.S. Eliot. I took this poem from one of my few surviving notebooks wherein I wrote my poems years ago. This is from January 1965. It is full of all the angst and alientation of a teenager at odds with the world around her. And it is a bland imitation of several of Eliot’s poems.
January – the dark month
The month of moonless nights
And stars hidden by clouds.
Smoke tasting fog – piles of grey ash
In cans on the sidewalk
And the ash men come –
Reaping what the fire has tasted and left behind –
Grey and dry – trees cremated to warm
Those flower folk hidden behind lace curtains
And wide porches sipping tea and eating cakes
Made by those below –
Silent in their movements
And almost as invisible
As the skeleton of an oak leaf –
But visible if the flower people gaze hard enough
But who only sip their tea and eat their cakes
who only look away.
A little dog trots on the sidewalk –
He alone has someplace to go.
Two men in black coats walk
Towards him and he shies away from them.
He jumps on the steps leading up
The grey walk to the big house
And whines as the men pass by.
Black hats black coats
Twins of darkness on this empty street
The flower folks entombed behind
Long panes of glass.
In a country graveyard by a long deserted church
With dirt as red as blood
I saw neglected graves and on one was set in a stone
A photograph behind smashed glass.
I assume it was the person buried in the blood red dirt.
Buried behind a pane of glass
In the blood red dirt of January
I sit by a dead fire and sip tea and eat cake.