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Glyn Maxwell
Glyn Maxwell
Glyn Maxwell was born in 1962 in Welwyn Garden City, England. He...
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Agha Shahid Ali
Agha Shahid Ali
Agha Shahid Ali was born in New Delhi on February 4, 1949....
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The Only Work

 
by Glyn Maxwell

In memory of Agha Shahid Ali

When a poet leaves to see to all that matters,
nothing has changed. In treasured places still
       he clears his head and writes.

None of his joie-de-vivre or books or friends
or ecstasies go with him to the piece
       he waits for and begins,

nor is he here in this. The only work
that bonds us separates us for all time.
       We feel it in a handshake,

a hug that isn't ours to end. When a verse
has done its work, it tells us there'll be one day
       nothing but the verse,

and it tells us this the way a mother might
inform her son so gently of a matter
       he goes his way delighted.






From The Nerve by Glyn Maxwell. Copyright © 2002 by Glyn Maxwell. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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