That means you are getting older by the minute. And wiser. And remembering things, as this poems makes you do.
Pinching is sound poetry-writing practice, Derek Walcott says, in his What the Twilight Says..or what I say he says regarding a poet’s knowledge of the history of the poetic tradition.
It proves that the truest writers are those who see language not as linguistic process but as a living element; it more closely demonstrates the laziness of poets who confuse language with linguistics and with archaeology. It also annihilates provincial concepts of imitation and originality. Fear of imitation obsesses minor poets. But in any age a common genius almost indistinguishably will show itself, and the perpetuity of this genius is the only valid tradition, not the tradition which categorizes poetry by epochs and by schools. We know that the great poets have no wish to be different, no time to be original, that their originality emerges only when they have absorbed all the poetry which they have read, entire, that their first work appears to be the accumulation of other people’s trash, but that they become bonfires, that it is only academics and frightened poets who talk of Beckett’s debt to Joyce.
(From “The Muse of History,” collected in What the Twilight Says)
Last night, a friend posed a question to me – on the subject of the Manchester Arena bombing: When & how will it end? I said I had been asking the same. There’s always been war and terror and maybe the historians can clarify if we’ve ever had anything like today’s strain of terrorist attacks and regime-change wars. Every time I think of my friend’s question, my mind goes to this poem:
Read full poem here.
By the way, Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, his first novel, whose title is a line from Yeats’ famous poem, remains my personal most re-read book and favourite read of all time.