A few weeks ago I brashly proclaimed to a literary friend that it’s been a very long time since I found any poetry that resonated me, and I had therefore written off all of it. Her response was to send me a poem that has set me off on a personal poetry renaissance that has been a delight and a pleasure. Here is the piece that set off the chain reaction, and I challenge you not to relate to this little gem by Brian Patten.
If You Had To Hazard A Guess Who Would You Say Your Poetry Is For?
For people who have nowhere to go in the afternoons,
For people who the evening banishes to small rooms,
For good people, people huge as the world.
For people who give themselves away forgetting
What it is they are giving,
And who are never reminded.
For people who cannot help being kind
To the hand bunched in pain against them.
For inarticulate people,
People who invent their own ugliness,
Who invent pain, terrified of blankness;
And for people who stand forever at the same junction
Waiting for the chances that have passed.
And for those who lie in ambush for themselves,
Who invent toughness as a kind of disguise,
Who, lost in their narrow and self-defeating worlds,
Carry remorse inside them like a plague;
And for the self-seeking self lost among them
I hazard a poem.