Letter to a Crowded House
.... for Anne Kind

.... I took the victims, over the trench I cut their throats
.... and the dark blood flowed in-and up out of Erebus they came
.... flocking towards me now, the ghosts of the dead and gone...
....................................... Odyssey, trans Robert Fagles

July the 16th, 1999

Dear Anne,
.................... I hope you're well. Today is fine
and metrical. There'll not be many more
such dates to seed a couplet with before
the shrinks wrap up this shrieking century
and stack the ten decades in history.
You've known more times and territories than most.
Along your head's dark corridors the ghost
of every past self mews for recognition
like Homer's ancestors, whose mute condition
was slaked by blood. You want to give them voice,
build back with words their worlds of sense and choice
that once were yours - and only you are able
to paint the living picture, not the label.
So load your brush and lay the pigment thick,
make lungs lift, lids blink open, pulses tick.

It's tough for me to take my own advice.
Admission to the Muse exacts a price.
Some satisfaction has to be denied,
some sacrifice set down of sloth or pride
before the will and wellspring work together -
and my dry summer seems persistent, whether
for want of inspiration, want of trying
or want of wanting.
................................ All best wishes,
........................................................... Brian

-------------------------

© Brian Fewster,
Published in Poetry Monthly 60, March 2001

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