I am not going to say anything about the poem below. I think it explains itself.
We are at table and there are statistics.
Not the obvious count of knife and fork and spoon,
or the percentages of dishes with no meat.
One of our number informs us:
the average academic paper is read by ten people.
I should have been embarrassed,
but I crowed how many visits my blog receives.
These are the overtures, mere distractions,
the real equation leaves me speechless.
First let me give you the context,
my friend has worked in China for the past year,
this meal is a celebration of his return,
and he interjects, cuts across our cosy conversation.
Mao, he was told had been,
seventy percent right, thirty percent wrong.
It is better to admit your hero has feet of clay,
to divert attention from famine,
the social dislocation of Mao's final years,
and all those ghosts.
The ones that now stand round this table,
So many in fact that they form an orderly queue
down Catherine Hill and beyond Frome to the sea.
We briefly discuss these percentages,
then the talk returns to
the food we are enjoying,
the band we going to watch,
the minutia of our oh so comfortable lives.
We rise to leave and find we must
shoulder our way through the ghosts,
though they do not follow,
I feel their eyes on my back.I think it is nearly there. I am not sure about the last stanza and would welcome your thoughts. It is one of those poems that wear their genesis on their sleeve so to speak.
Here's the new Mountain Goats single Blood Capsules.