In theory, I can only write like me,
but reality is less defined.
I do my best not to steal from others,
but some influence is obviously inevitable.
If it could be wished into being, like a genie,
I’d have a style that would shout my name.
As it is, the lines are confused with
the roll-call of guests to some obscure conference
where no one can work out the common link
that brought them all there.
by chance, on a last minute invitation.
Some refused at first, but changed their minds
at a later date, and some are still hovering
outside the door, deciding when it would be
safest to enter. I am pleased in some ways
to have them there: they offer kind advice,
and willing inspiration, but spending all my time
playing host to this crowd leaves little left
for street-lamps, stars and other night-impressions.
I’d like most to reflect my world, sick to death
of them bragging about the loves they’ve had
or the wars they’ve hated.
Sometimes I feel that news items don’t do justice
to their subjects, disaster or otherwise
but I doubt that I’m up to capturing that
without it becoming trivial. The worst punishment
would be all my guests, laughing.