Before the famous efflorescence,
Much of note occurred.
Here are the fumblings of adolescence,
Word for groping word,
And the English teacher ‑ that excrescence ‑
The one who wounded the bird,
The shifting addresses, the Christmas presents,
The dreams, the hope deferred.
After that, the incident in the gorse
Is definitively dissected;
His relationship with his father, of course,
And sex (mostly unprotected).
What inspired the poem about the horse?
His wife, when she was infected,
The growing richness of inner resource
Unfolds pretty much as expected.
The drink, the demons, the ailing heart:
Is six hundred pages enough?
Yet see how it dwindles from the start
To dingoes’ droppings and fluff.
Find the work by taking the life apart?
That’s coming it a bit rough.
What will survive of him is art,
Not this stuff.