I see you battling with a butcher boy
To save a cat from torture, and I see
You, dressed for travel, stop at Wordsworth’s house
And leave a message by the mirror. Why
These and not some other scenes? The sea
Washes where it will. Idly, the wind blows.
And poetry, you know, is not the same
As prose. Your letters, living like a sketch
Made suddenly by an evening fire, tell more,
Perhaps, than does the deep-cut marble rhyme
Suspended where the frieze extends to match
Its infinite progression through the air.
Yet poems are wanted. All can give the news.
Your letters only would but charm away
Winchester some Sunday afternoon, old
Cold rooms removed, with you there, laughing, as
I took your thoughts about that gloomy grey
Disconsolate uncherished town as told.
You are majestic, priestlike, when you write
Your poems and they give back your image like
Gold clarified by fire. Again I see
You, David - prophet, poet, saint - whose light
Leaps round you, dancing, as you, tiptoe, make
The giant of failure fall to poetry.
O most delightful of those called by God
To write their names in water to His glory,
How you have triumphed once your death had done
Its saving work and you might, holy, add
Laurel to laurel from your crowning history;
One further leaf, and with affection, John.