Have you tried rewriting any of your old poems of late?
And found that the words were one size much too small
The mood too, now seems to sag at a different place
Nothing of it can be tweaked to fit this current state
The rhymes gone flat, nothing adds up to a complete whole.
Does the past add up in neat columns every time
The totals tight, reconciled, no blanks, no gaps?
Every memory doesn’t march in step, perfectly align
To this life now being written in imperfect rhyme
In dribs and drabs, where the past and future overlap.
An odd drape of the river on rocks, strangely clouded faces
Caught once between two firm words, now have escaped.
All of it now in my hands, empty roach egg cases
Parchment fragile, minutely ribbed emptinesses.
Cases of life from which all life’s been scraped.
Some mildly ugly smell, decayed flowers on the bank
Mixes in with the mud, yet still feels pleasant
Because these eyes had seen them bloom on the branch
They were shapes of petals before they drooped and stank
Their corpses strewn on the waves, carried into the present.
Why rewrite, I can hear you say, write things afresh
Why busy yourself with smells of pasts, why retrofit
Poems into discarded cases and emptinesses
Only... as things are written their scooped out flesh
Their pips and pulp fall into the past minute by minute.
The end is reached but the start is outdated
The shapes of cases, drapes of rivers, landscapes of time
Before the present can be plucked clear, segregated
It’s tugged both ways, each word is lost before it’s mated
Before it can hold its sense and find a rhyme.