Asking After Me


Based (loosely) on The Bell Jar, which even after adolescence bears rereading. On a tangential point: the question, “Are you ok?” is sometimes used either in an accusatory fashion, to address someone’s unacceptable difference of mood and to suggest that they reconsider their feelings, or in a purposefully redundant mode. One might ask whether someone is alright, in the certain knowledge that the question will not – and to an extent, must not – be answered.

(For the avoidance of doubt I genuinely am fine, writing this, and am in quite a lovely, bubbly mood: but I can’t help but act as Sylvia’s proxy after reading her.)



Am I fine? Why not ask the resting stones
How deep they dream, how tired they are from rest.
You ask of me an answer answerless.
Do I daydream still? Perhaps that is not wrong.
You may ask, do I see what isn’t there,
As though the sea’s not coloured by atmosphere.
Should I worry for it, wring airless nights
Wondering of the true colour of sky?

After all, the rest is tautology.
The colour of pain is bruise. A similar thing:
There is no God-set use for suffering,
Those who labour work, and workers die;
The meaning of pain is pain, of life is life:
Yet though our minds define us, in your truth
Our greatest height, in the midst of madness, is
To endure the epicentre of it.

Am I fine? Say, is the sky pure blue?
Answer, by all means: for I wonder it, too.



One thought on “Asking After Me

  1. Hi James, I’ve often thought of saying that when I read your poems aloud I think of Donne, not that I find them in any way immitative or inherited. It just sounds as though you may in some mystical way be related to him in spirit and energy and commitment. I think it’s wonderful. Gran

    Sent from my iPad


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