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Sideways look,

I don't believe, she says, you know --
What's your favourite by Rimbaud?

Ah, say I, the best of him
was his full stop. I cannot quote
his pages, though
I've read them all. I don't speak French,
you understand, but he --
debauched, a dreadful man --
he spoke my tongue, and spoke it well.

He's gone to Hell, she says, and I --
well, I just sigh. It's Hell he left.
Full stop, he wrote.
Enough of this poor hungry home,
I'm done with poems.


How brave he was --
depraved and vile --
while I just sit
and dread the hour
when cowardice alone will force
my own full stop.


Sideways look,

Well I can quote
each word he wrote.


I pity her. She knows the lines
but never learned
to join the dots.


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