UN COUP DE DÉS                                         

If poems are made with words
and not ideas, who thought
to say this?
                   Was it me
or the words
not quite here yet?
                              Not saying
I'm quite here yet, either.
Which is another idea.

Or, rather, more words.


Here's empty of now

so why is there
full of then 

as if what's to come's
already a memory 
so late
it arrived early


What we say about the world isn't
what the world is.
                                   Even if it's true,
it would only be the sentences
we say in it which are true.

The world is not made of sentences.


What to say in this poem?
Should it be different
from the others?
                           By me
or anyone else?
Words written on a page to end
being said into the air.
What else is it for? Few,
if any, change
lives. Doubtless, none of
            They might change
the way you breathe
for a while. Just that.

I should say whatever
I want. It's my poem after all.
I know, I know. By the time
you read it if you
do read it it will've
become yours.
                               Like all
the others.
                      Is that what I
should say then? What I'm
doing here I'm doing for you.
Even if we've never met.

Even if we never will 
because you're reading these words
long after I am dead,
in a language I never spoke.


If there's more
than one of you
you have to
expect trouble.

People never
quite know who
will show up, or
what to think.

What happened
last time was it
you there or
the other? How tell?

It's bound to lead
to confusion
and mistrust. No
wonder we make

such a mess of
our lives.
If it's our lives we                                     
make a mess of.   

   John Phillips 2015