FOR THE POET’S SWEATSHOP

DILEMMA
(Dedicated to Oscar Wilde)

Tell me indeed how the grey heart survives
The feeble impulse of fugitive lives?
In a garret, the demigod wields his pen –
His ink nigh invisible to these men.

He frowns, exhaling a practised sigh.
His nib is blunted. Why must he try
To connect with the lame and injured hearts
Who see him not, who walk apart?

The demigod weeps. Does a crystal tear
Fall on the paper? The answer’s clear.
For a second at least, or so it seems,
The demigod is the God of his dreams.

The Lord of Joy and the Prince of Pain,
Almighty, vital, connected again.
A light from his paper illumines the sky
And a man in the dreary, drab street looks up high.

He laughs with delight. Is the tear in his eye
A fleeting perception of beauty and truth?
The demigod frowns. His well is dry.

James Donald 2010

James is a biographer, novelist, musical lyricist and passionate devotee of the arts. He lives in London.

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