In the same way that the mindless diamond keeps

one spark of the planet’s early fires

trapped forever in its net of ice,

it’s not love’s later heat that poetry holds,

but the atom of the love that drew it forth

from the silence: so if the bright coal of his love

begins to smoulder, the poet hears his voice

suddenly forced, like a bar-room singer’s — boastful

with his own huge feeling, or drowned by violins;

but if it yields a steadier light, he knows

the pure verse, when it finally comes, will sound

like a mountain spring, anonymous and serene.

Beneath the blue oblivious sky, the water

sings of nothing, not your name, not mine.

Don Paterson (Scotland, 1963 -)

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