‘let’s go for a drink’ job interviews
in a quiet, expensive bar
that slick, smooth bosses go in for
and you feel it’s all wrong way up –
you’re being interviewed for life style,
presentable company wife etc.
and not the job; you’d like
the pay of course, that’s why
you’re here; but now where’s this going,
out of left field – ‘I am a part of
all that I have met’ he says; is that
to remind you that it will always be
his company? Is it something he read
in the latest aspirational book, and
rather fancied it…? Sharply, you loathe
the whole business world that got you
where you are…
now, you’re sitting out an excellent party
except that you’ve been on your feet all day
and now you’re joined on the sofa by an attractive thirty-fivish
who’s also gently cruising the room.. you know
instantly that she’s, as you’d say to the boys
but not, well not yet, to her personally, up for it..
and you’re wittily circling one another
in banter, taking stock of the priority
of your urges, and then she says,
looking you straight in the eye, as if
it’s moving this chat onto another plane, ‘I am
a part of all that I have met’.. and you try
to suppress the comeback line,
yes, lady, I’ll bet you are…
pretentious flirty cow, says your inner jock…
Around 1666, when London burned
like a pile of sticks, Milton, blind poet,
said this. And of course, never saw the flames;
I wonder if he felt their distant warmth to chill his soul?
What made him say this, a statement almost heroic,
magnificent; a poet who also cared deeply for
freedom of expression… you’ve skipped
pages, chunks, of his ‘Paradise Lost’…
and now, one single remark quoted,
and you simply want to meet him;
drag him out of history into the present time,
ask him about his life, try to know
what made him – sixtyish, blind,
having just written that sonnet on his blindness
which once made you weep when you were young,
say of his life, I am a part of all that I have met…

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