Maya Angelou would pronounce ‘poetry’
with each syllable given equal, gentle
weight, and the first two clear as a call, a soft
sonorousness as if water spoke.
There are few words in the English lexicon
with so many, diverse, Attic meanings
as ‘poet’: maker, inventor, composer,
speech writer, legislator, author:
images of workshops, and lecterns;
chambers with high ceilings and long windows;
the law’s austere and tempered modalities;
stanzas memorised then taught by rote;
strings of characters laid every way;
the declamations at gatherings,
or in the mind’s crowded, private silences.
Although partially obscured by leaves,
when it is dark enough, solar-powered lights,
strung across the Japanese cherry, switch on –
like fireflies, like paper lanterns soundless
on deep waters, floating, flickering, long, long
after we are sleeping.