After sixty years
Focussing on right now
I found the two fine walkers
Coleridge and his friend
Mr William Wordsworth,
Had a brief skirmish with
That other wondrous set,
The dreamer Keats, the 
Poetic mister Shelley
And the bad Lord B,
Went backwards in time
Through Swift and Pope
And Dryden to blind Milton
In his metronomically
Agonistic anti-Paradise
To find my friend John Donne,
A love-struck island to himself,
The whiff of something
Of great meaning thus
Becoming ever obvious;
Like incense
As the swinging starts.

Breathless, reading much
Of Elizabethan and such
I circled Shakespeare,
But warily, for a long while
Keeping nervous distance
Unsure about this Everest
Or maybe of my ability
To climb it or find the light
That so many others find,
Went back a long stride
But Chaucer was too tough,
Loved Spencer's Faerie Queen
Then fell on Tamburlaine,
From reckless Marlow and,
Ah! Here it is, (I thought,)
The source! that river
Of sweet scented mists
Still coiled and flowed
And thrust and heaved
And his words lived
And in his halcyon shade
I lay and took my rest awhile
And read how Shakespeare
Was perhaps Marlowe
Come live with me and be my love

They or some one wrote.
Although to me it mattered
Only that they were.

And then in Winchester
In the dusty- silent attic
Of that antiquarian book shop
Logan Pearsall-Smith's
1928 Jewel of a treatise,
On Reading Shakespeare,
Lay opened in my hand
As when something flashed
Brightly in a muddy field
And you stooped to pick it up
And you were looking
Into the bright sun-colours
Of a diamond.

And so the good professor
Opened up the door
Switched on the lights
And there for me that wondrous treasury
Of works to brighten up my days
To hold an explanation for my nights.
Thus, in the beginning,
Were his Words.

Bryan Islip
April 98

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