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.
They arrived
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.