Now if we start here
with the business of ideas
where are they born
where do they grow
before lining pages in ranks?
Was Prufrock born of experience?
Were the Tales first told on Pilgrimage?
Could I too sit above Tintern Abbey
and looking down reap from Wordsworth’s plot?
Or do vast and trunkless legs of stone,
Grecian urns, and stately pleasure domes
exist more on the page than any other place?
Were their births in disparate places –
in distant lands as numerous as the stars –
before being gathered and nurtured
in a greenhouse with walls papered
and peeling from the heavy air?
That is the harsher thought
for though I sit at the feet of Elgin Marbles
I will never write even
a shadow of the magnitude Keats read.
And you sitting in my chair
at this desk with this pen
staring at my yellow walls
would never write this poem
but something else
planted with seeds from your land
pollinated with the air of your lungs
the fruit of those flowers could be sweet
and sweeter still the wine.