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'Don’t Feel Sorry About It', a new poem by Robert Harris

August 2019, no. 413

'Don’t Feel Sorry About It', a new poem by Robert Harris

August 2019, no. 413

Don’t feel sorry about it, if you remember

blue Darlinghurst nights like particular quilts

a generation of painters saw

before we arrived there, or found ourselves


deciduous as apple trees. Don’t feel sorry

for our poverty, or I’ll report the mirror winks

like a man with bad teeth who has laughed

at all who dislike poetry. Be less than sad


on the day that you hear the news I fell,

they’ll nose you out, the generous, curious ones

then rest assured that I will never tell

who left her pee in glasses overnight.


Don’t be sorry so much ambitious verse

grovelled in the cities where we lived

only say for me I walked an older road

where poetry was rare and hard, and, frankly, good.


That when I had worked it out I laughed and laughed;

what piss-ants, what grovelling pick-thanks

queued like the British to attack my books.

See with what ease I bash the rhythms out,


(go fall on it!) set the metaphor to click

on their tumblers into place. The reason is

I’ve served my bloody indentures: no use

getting set for sad atmospheres. You’ll hear


of my death one day and start to remember

how many times I got you to laugh

from the verbal castles I built you.

Robert Harris

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