The man from Porlock
when a man meets a woman
he wants the impossible
as in fairy tales - the ones
he’s read or his mother told him -
& for a while it seems
he can manage it - the impossible -
‘a stately pleasure dome decree’
which is the way
Coleridge put it
knowing well enough, he couldn’t
decree anything but
the fabulous Kubla
could, as in fact he did, girdling
round ‘twice five miles
of fertile ground
with walls & towers’, planting
‘gardens bright with sinuous rills’
& ‘incense-bearing trees’, etc.
Then, there’s the man from Porlock
who always (it seems as if it’s
always) gets in the way. But women
know this, which is why
so many of them practise
the dulcimer & sing of Mt Abora -
& the man from Porlock
well, that’s another story ...
‘The man from Porlock’, from Summer in the Cote D’Azur (HeadworX, 2003), © Alistair Paterson 2003, used by permission of the author.
Recording from the Aotearoa New Zealand Poetry Sound Archive 2004.