To His Coy Wordsmith

Had we but world enough and time
this coyness, poet, were no crime;
I would sit down and trawl each phrase
for hidden nuances and ways
in which it might relate
to concepts that you'll never state.
I'd listen for the quarter rhyme
that's buried somewhere in the line,
engrossed as you'd recite me all
your poetry in a tedious drawl.
Hellenic imagery would lead
through dusty alleys where I'd read
cryptic allusions into each
veiled reference hung just out of reach.
   But at my back I ever hear
life's siren sound bites scurrying near
and yonder all before us lie
deserts of vast obscurity.
   Now therefore, lest sales of your verse
decline from some to something worse,
sprinkle your page with dancing fires
and satisfy my base desires
with music that stays with me long
after I've put away your song.
Tell me of heron-priested shores;
of boughs more silent than before.
Once coyness free, it's not a crime
for poetry to scan or rhyme
and, if you do recite it, try
to give it wings and let it cry.

by John Wood

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John Wood would love to be a Philip Larkin or a Dylan Thomas but, as it turns out, is a distinctly unliterary sometime ferry skipper and small time farmer from Cornwall, England. Ah well, if you can't do it, just enjoy it or parody it!