The Poet WS Graham and the Artist Michael Snow

WS Graham at his typewriter

I’m not really into obituaries, but I happened to see this one about the artist Michael Snow in the poetry section of the Guardian ( see article here ).  At first, I thought it might have been a mistake putting an artist’s obituary in the poetry section, but it turns out Michael Snow and his wife, Margaret, were the editors of The Nightfisherman: Selected Letters of WS Graham of which I happen to have a copy of and had the pleasure of reading a few years back.  I am a great admirer of Graham’s singular devotion to the vocation ( or more precisely avocation ) of being a poet; refusing to get caught up in the pursuit of making a living in order to devote his time and energy to composing poems while struggling to scrape up enough money to live on ( all of which comes out in his selected letters ).  After spending most of his life in almost constant financial straits, he eventually obtained a small government pension which greatly helped to alleviate his financial situation.  Neglected in his lifetime, his poems are slowly gaining recognition.

      I leave this at your ear for when you wake . . .
             (for his wife Nessie Dunsmuir)
                        WS Graham

I leave this at your ear for when you wake,
A creature in its abstract cage asleep.
Your dreams blindfold you by the light they make.

The owl called from the naked-woman tree
As I came down by the Kyle farm to hear
Your house silent by the speaking sea.

I have come late but I have come before
Later with slaked steps from stone to stone
To hope to find you listening for the door.

I stand in the ticking room. My dear, I take
A moth kiss from your breath. The shore gulls cry
I leave this at your ear for when you wake.


About poeticmeditations

A 19th-century romantic poet living in the 21st-century. The Romantic poets, nib pens, candlelight, waistcoats, and pocket watches are a few of my favorite things.
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