Thank You, Thank You
. . . Particularly if yourself
Have been left as they call it on the shelf
All God’s chillun got wings
So the black Alabaman sings.
Down Grafton Street on Saturdays
Don’t grieve like Marcus Aurelius
Who said that though he grew old and grey
The people of the Appian Way
Were always the same pleasant age
Twenty-four on average.
I can never help reflecting
Of coming back in another century
From now and feeling comfortable
At a buzzing coffee table,
The students in 2056
With all the old eternal tricks.
The thing that I most glory in
Is this exciting unvarying
Quality that withal
Is completely original.
For what it teaches is just this
We are not alone in our loneliness,
Others have been here and known
Griefs we thought our special own
Problems that we could not solve
Lovers that we could not have
Pleasures that we missed by inches.
Come I’m beginning to get pretentious
Beginning to message for instead
Of expressing how glad
I am to have lived to feel the radiance
Of a holy hearing audience
And delivered God’s commands
Into those caressing hands,
My personality that’s to say
All that is mine exclusively.
What wisdom’s ours if such there be
Is a flavour of personality.
I thank you and I say how proud
That I have been by fate allowed
To stand here having the joyful chance
To claim my inheritance
For most have died the day before
The opening of that holy door.