Somewhere W.B.Yeats writes of the poet at the breakfast table (“the poet never speaks directly as to someone at the breakfast table, there is always a phantasmagoria”). I suppose, however, that the poet foregoes ‘phantasmagoria’ when eating his or her breakfast…
The poet at the breakfast table
toys with ideas he stirs into the oatmeal.
Looking in the glimmer of the milk for a reflection
of the idea of himself, and his next selection
of words from the tumbling Babel,
he considers which he owns and which he’ll steal;
considers also the idea of making today
not just another Monday, or any old new day,
but the first day of the rest of his swift life.
Only a moment’s reflection shoves the knife
into that one – there is his body, for one thing;
still working but with various aches and pains;
and then his mind, that ragbag of known things –
things that puzzle him; uncertain memories –
also troubled with various aches and pains;
and then there is the whole of history…
Whereas there was no futility in eating breakfast
there was, he thought, futility in his vocation,
the poetic one, in which he had been steadfast
ever since he had the inspiration.
Nothing he composes can change the world.
No love poem ever made him loved.
Still, he comforts himself, the porridge fills him up;
he reaches for the handle of his coffee cup.
Seek, he reminds himself, and ye shall find
(but what we seek for is what we must not find).