Talking with Mr K

It was April in Antwerp. Sun
blazing the sky, oxidizing leaded roofs
to a rich copper in which the city melted
or was framed more real; light in which he
was buoyant, as if revelation's strict demand
had drenched his eyes and speech.

"Celebrate joy - but who will believe it?
Rattle dead bones and the world applauds,
grants approval to affirmation condemned!
Thus only the damned delight this age,
shadow not substance its demanded creed,
the image in mirrors more real than the giver

"Yet of this compose our poems
and rework the State accordingly - as if
mimic'd disorder were our function and pride.
Even so, shape order from this,
admit the divine had touched the earth,
know cosmos in our time."

Memory stirred, images rose,
this was familiar dialogue,
was Blake's was Milton's argument
of poetry as sacred lore,
the spinning waters Taliesin cupped
into a grammar by which to compose

the watermark at each poem's core;
was light's splendid and infusing verb
giving the spirit its high cadence
and right of speech - as it was now doing
with all he saw and spoke, even as we stood
on the railway platform,

his urgency not one of trains but of matters
left unsaid and the need to affirm them.
He kept to that, as faithful as tables
of arrive and depart; a figure
igniting words, insisting light's validity,
unrelenting in his accurate authority.

Martin Burke

If you have any comments on this poem Martin Burke would like to hear from you:

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