Listening to every heart
Last Night With Dickens
You know how it is, when open to deep thought
Especially reading of life’s tragedies brought
To forefront by authors now long dead and gone
You wonder, ponder, what pushed them on.
And it was
By candlelight, with quill pen, writers thus wrote
Sheaves of papers scattered, did all first thoughts emote
The exact phrase and line, or were rewrites given?
Ah to be taken back and see them all living.
‘Twas “Charles” I’d been reading, copyright ’62
A young lady wrote there all that she knew
Of Dickens life, as if by his side was she,
In life’s moment of magic, drawn in to see
(Oh how it was)
That Dickie’s life was platted while he was so young
Even as a child, perceived how things had begun
Long before an age to have experienced bloom,
Serious life’s forces by which he was entombed.
Fascinated, I saw
As his wife, dear Kate, closed her intellect’s door
While adept sister, Mary, loved Charlie even more,
He kept them both close, their spirits he adored
While he composed, bewitched, … and wrote even more.
I watched as
During the worthy times, pending destitute days
He always had something profound to say
So say he did, quill quivering, writing furiously now
His words a panacea as he mopped sweat from his brow.
Quiet desperation, love,
When his Mary died, his suffering became despair
And I felt heartsick for him, ’tho bigotry he had dared
In front of his wife, beautiful, sweet, solemn Kate,
Two so needed in his life, bigotry a welcome mate.
Last night Charlie came, he beckoned unto me
There in my reverie, I dreamt I could see
His frock coat so, his broadcloth purely white
He said, “So, I understand your desire is to write.”
Thus, I replied,
“Yes, sir, your talented ways, those I have not,
All I have before me, is all that I have got
While it will not change the world as you had once done,
I’ll give my doubtful talent some room to play and run.”
Said Charlie, so kind,
“Well, keep writing, do a slap-up job” then Charlie, with a nod,
Flowed from my dreams, first blurred, then softly bobbed
Gently faded out of sight, gone, but never out of mind
His true life’s story touched deeply, solemnly sublime.
With apologies to Charlie, and to all of you
My thanks, and prayers, that none of you may rue
The day I came to visit, for with you here, shall share
My dreams, hopes, visions, all expression that I dare.
29 August 1999
revised 12 January 2002