. . . the disputations of eras—
often when we older poets look at the verse of those younger we're befuddled or hostile—
on those rare occasions a young poet asks me to write a blurb, it puzzles me why: why would they want the approbation of someone my age: really?
(it may be cynical, but I can't believe they honestly want my approval in any case—)
It's not just that I don't have the energy or time to "keep up" with their work: it's that if I were their age I wouldn't care what that 70-year-old fade what'shisKnott thinks,
so if I wouldn't care, why should I?
(Hey, yo-po, if I like your stuff, that should warn you there must be something wrong with it—)
The merciful dispensations of time allow us oldsters to be placated and distracted somewhat when considering the horrible fact of our oh so imminent demise, by looking at the young and gloating to ourselves, Well I certainly wouldn't want to be in their shoes! I'm glad I'm not like them! etc.
A poem about it from a couple years ago:
THERE'S THE RUB
Envying young poets the rage
You wish you could reverse your night
And blaze out born on every page
As old as them, as debut-bright.
Child of that prodigal spotlight
Whose wattage now is theirs to wage—
What gold star rite you wish you might
Raise revised to its first prize stage.
But listen to my wizened sage:
He claims there's one disadvantage
Should time renew you neophyte—
There'd be one catch you'd hate, one spite:
Remember if you were their age
You'd have to write the way they write.
Obviously the young differentiate themselves from their predecessors in order to further their own development and sense of worth,
but might their rebellions or deviations also be motivated by kindness and pity for those of us who must soon die—
by unselfishly choosing to alienate and outrage us,
they help us dose our daily dread: how palliative the muttering placebo of contrastation with, and ritual protestation at,
but do we appreciate how compassionate this errancy may be?