Teech Airil sez – This poem from way back in 1998 was from my observation of a poetry lesson during English period, if i am not wrong, at Myton Secondary in Warwick, England where i was attached for a while. I also found the inspiration in my own students in Malaysia during my summer teaching stints.

Basically it is about young people trying to write creatively, and us old people not giving them much credit and criticising them like no tomorrow instead of finding their strength… sad, isn’t it?

The Mass Cemetery of Budding Young Poets

In the place between sleep and wake
I stumbled upon a huge cave
Where darkness escapes light
And anguish and fear and loss
Live amongst in-betweened souls

A cave of unmarked graves
In them skulls and bones from the ages
When Adam and Eve walked
Until the hour of the second coming
A cave of desolate souls

And, what could be more of a tragedy?

There in that damp corner
Two Shakespeare incarnates
One male, one female
A Plath, a Byron, a Hughes
Two Wiltmans and three Rosettis
Whose magical written words
Never made it across our eyes

They were told:
“Too sentimental”
“Too self-pitying”
“Too short”
“Too long”
“Too complex”
“Too simple”
“We don’t like your style”
“I just don’t get it”
“This is good but…”
“Are you sure this is your own?”
“Don’t take this too hard, but it’s difficult to write well”

Suddenly a shout from what was once alive
Now agonising in pain
Another one
Death befell this infant mind
Whose voice was silenced
And, what could be more of a tragedy?
Than that, that might have been?