This poem was written by a great uncle who¬†shared my grandfather’s love of books and became a writer, also earning a degree in English literature in his retirement since there weren’t the funds for him to go to university when he was young. I discovered his poems in a bound copy sent to his niece (my mother) and have learned some by heart.

Here he conveys the alchemy of poetry; taking simple, every day words and putting them together to create something that ‘can wring the heart’.

Copyright: Bill Stanton, www.billstanton.co.uk and D.M. Stanton, J.A. Hughes-Jones, A.K. Stanton

Photo credit: Rhianjane, pixabay.com

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What is there in a poem to make me weep?

And how can words, mere words, so wring the heart?

For take one up and weigh it, cast its spell,

And say in what it seems remarkable.

This one here, see; it is the very same

That yesterday sold heifers at Smithfield,

And has today bought liquor in a pub,

And may next week be dead as this week’s news.

 

But place it thus, and give it company

Of fellows, like itself rude fustian men,

And speak them fair, and see what they will do

When their small force shall batter at my door,

How soon the walls will crack and let them through

To overwhelm me with their bitter joy.

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