Real Deal

Generations after they have gone to their
Eternal rest, reincarnation or
Journey to meadows verdant, warm and fair —
Wherever people go when gone before

Folks shake their heads the fate of writers o’er
Whose merest scraps of paper now command
Ridiculous cost ownership before
Ne’er to be tickled with an ungloved hand

“How could they not have known?” we sad inquire
“They in the presence of true poets were?
How could such presence failed have to inspire,
Any observer greatness not infer ?

“How ignorant those people must have been
In ignorant and unenlightened day
To let the author of these writings keen
In underheated illness; waste away!

Oh, were I granted but one moment in
Such a grave presence, straight away I would
To ask my deepest questions swift begin
And strive to make account of self as good

As, thoughtfully considered, I pronounced
Opinions worthy of a calm respect,
On subtle chance for humor timely pounced
And did th’occasional bon mot not neglect!

“Truly, we must have come so very far
From that dark age when such might walk among
The ordinary folk on sidewalks are
As if upon mere sidewalks such belong

“And not upon luxur’ious pedestals
Surrounded only fond admirers by
Accept for autograph their annuals
Each precious word hung on each list’ner by…”

You have not come so far, not grown so well
Have not spread mental wings, you do not fly
In such clear air you can a poet tell
Any better than they did — here stand I

The poorest of your poor, least credible
And most despised among you, subject to
Humiliations so incredible
An enemy would not wish them to view

Do you buy paintings? List sopranos sing?
Specialize in an antique period?
Why do you not a living artist bring
To sweet relief while it still do some good?