Maryanne Hannan: ‘On Reading Les Murray Died Four Years Ago’

On Reading Les Murray Died Four Years Ago
With a bow to The Last Hellos

Does knowing now make you more dead?
Until this morning, I could still see you
slouch, is that what you did, or
was it more a slump, a gallump
to the podium? An early new century
poetry reading in my northeast USA
university hometown. Then, Q
& A where we tired you out,
with our questions and maybe
our ignorance. Where you shared
your unadorned self. And made us laugh.
The happiest people are the machinists,
you told us. They solve the problems.
And advised, Better that a poem come up,
rather than you go down for it.
You kept your answers snappy.
And I came prepared with questions
I hoped other people would ask:
How are you, a man of integrity,
a poet of acknowledged genius,
how can you be Catholic?
I wanted someone in that room
of poets and wannabes to say the word
and see your face light up with joy
or watch it fall
from longing, or doubt.
But no one did. And now never will.
Time’s over-ripe for this hello sliding
off, a never far away goodbye.
Dear Sir, likewise—I wish you God.

Maryanne Hannan


Leave a Reply