Sometimes in your later

1 May 2015

Sometimes in your later
years it is enough
to read the titles only.
shorthand for the contents
you cannot quite recall.
The sleety ironies
of Philip Larkin, say,
a flatness everybody
knows but he defined,
bending to his bike-clips.

Wallace Stevens, Hartford,
was maestro of the lot;
his titles in themselves
an instant, one-line poem:
‘The Emperor of Ice-Cream’
‘Le Monocle de Mon Oncle’,
Good titles are the flag
that flies without a pole.
They say their piece alone
and straighten in the wind.

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