Exiled by Poetic Means

— Barbara Tinsley

What do I know of poetry? Why bother to ask at all? It picks me up
Without my comprehension; then pushes, rather, hurls me out through
corridors tall of bright white light and glass—
depositing my trembling frame by tension set aflame outside
with consummate condescension—onto a field of yellowish, dry,
sterile, yellow, waving, prickly grass, shouting to me in the shade,
“Go, make something of this!” but of what in all this alienating
exile and alone-ness is there to be made?

Outed, I find no kindred soul, no company at all. I’m in a total daze,
half hidden by the waist high swells of dry straw grass;
and looking back, lump throated, gaze under a dim star
with awe and jealousy upon acquaintances with whom, if only not so far,
I might have made the dull time in some room or bar pass cordially.
If only I had not been rushed so willfully and intentionally–
so existentially divided from their happy, laughing mass.
That invitation to remain contentedly with the rest n’er came to pass.

What I do know of poetry is relatively uninformative, but from the soul;
It parts poets like me from shared posterity and in austerity
deprives them of comraderie—which is the common goal.
It keeps the poet ever liminal and minimal and, some think, vaguely criminal
while he or she is separated out from common touch and all such
as comes to others naturally. Poets endure incomprehension,
condescension; survive without the benefits of easy friendship, remuneration,
insouciance and lasting love; the healing and appealing kiss of ordinariness.

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