Poets Walk: "it is the glory"

Poets Walk: "it is the glory"

Location on Poets Walk Map: 15


My Quaker-Atheist Friend, Who Has Come To This Meetinghouse Since 1913, Smokes & Looks Out Over The Rawthey To Holme Fell by Jonathan Williams


My Quaker-Atheist Friend,

Who Has Come To This Meeting-House Since 1913,

Smokes,

& Looks Out Over the Rawthey River

to Holme Fell:

what do you do

anything for?

you do it

for what the medievals would call

something like

the Glory of God

doing it for money

that doesn’t do it;

doing it for vanity,

that doesn’t do it;

doing it to justify a disorderly life,

that doesn’t do it

look at Briggflatts Meeting here . . .

it represents the best

that its people were able to do

they didn’t do it for gain;

in fact, they must have

taken a loss

whether it is stone next to a stone

or a word next to a word,

it is the glory—

the simple craft of it

and money and sex aren’t worth

bugger-all, not

bugger-all

solid, common, vulgar words

the ones you can touch,

the ones that yield

and a respect for the music . . .

and what else can you tell ‘ em?


Jonathan Williams, "My Quaker-Atheist Friend,Who Has Come To This Meetinghouse Since 1913, Smokes & Looks Out Over The Rawthey To Holme Fell" from Jubilant Thicket: New & Selected Poems. Copyright © 2005 by Jonathan Williams. Used by permission of Copper Canyon Press,www.coppercanyonpress.org.


For Recording: (recording courtesy of Tom Orange to PennSound) © 2009 by Jonathan Williams. These sound recordings are being made available for noncommercial and educational use only. All rights to this recorded material belong to the authors. Used with permission of the authors. Distributed by PennSound. For more recordings by Jonathan Williams, see: http://www.writing.upenn.edu/pennsound/x/Williams-Jonathan.php