And How It Goes by Anselm Hollo (I miss him)

Beyond the sadness of losing Anselm Hollo as a human being and a poet, his death has grown into something that continues to have significance for me because in his work I find an intense feeling that he lived how I live, through his writing, but 50 years ahead of me. Obviously there are enormous differences, none more so than he was a finer poet than I'm ever likely to be. Yet his work possesses a sense of place and a sense of humour, and trickery, and darkness, that I seek to possess. I've read so many poems of his in the last week that have made me feel a little overwhelmed that I have been to these places and hope to do these things, in life and in poetry. The people around me whom I love seem to be echoed by those he loves. He seems to have walked London as though it would not be his for long, as I often do. He dedicates poems as I have done. He has energy for new relationships, for endless writing, as I do. Now he is dead, 40 years on from writing these poems that have moved me so. It doesn't make me very sad, just makes me feel the inevitability of life and makes me appreciate how much my life is full of warmth and health and lovely humans, and lovely things, like poem below. For my friends!

And How It Goes 
                                                          by Anselm Hollo (1967)

Zoo-day, today
with the 2 young

"What animal
           did you like best?"
"That man"

She's three, more perfect
            than any future
                           I or any man
                           will lead her to

but now, to the gates
            and wait for the boat
                           by the Regent's canal

we stand in a queue
all tired, speechless

A line from Villon
           sings into my head:
"Paradis paint"
           "A painted paradise
where there are harps and lutes"

Yes and no children
but who say such pretty things
            for me to inscribe
                           in one of my notebooks
with the many blank pages
            marking the days
                           when I feel as forsaken as
                                              balding Francois
       who also found
in himself            
                        the need to adore

       as different as my stance is
       here, in a queue of mums & dads
                            down the green slope
                                           to the canal

- when he wrote to the Virgin
            hypocrite, setting his words
                            to the quavers
of his mother's voice

             le bon Dieu
                              knows where he'd left her

At least
                              I'm holding her hand
           she's here, my daughter
                              he is here

                                                       "my son

the lives of poets
        even the greatest, are dull
                        and serve as warnings"

To say this, suddenly
            here, in the queue
                           would no doubt be brave

He's half asleep,
clutching a plastic lion

"The thing is, they could not
           get out of themselves
                           any better than these
who also wait
                                              for a boat
                     - o that it were drunken
                                   on what wild seas -
they didn't
         even try, just griped about it
                        or made little idols
for brighter moments ... "

The boat has arrived
         and there,
                      the elephant's trumpet

Her weight on my knees
His head on my shoulder

We, best-loved animals
one, two, three
         and as illuminated
         as we'll ever be