To Sean O’Brien

“I hope to write poetry that uses the full keyboard, claiming its full range of method and subject”
Sean O’Brien

I picked up your “November”1
On a cusp of Spring some few years back
With all such ease of time that holidays
Bring for browsing books.
A Gaelic named and volumed poet
Unknown to me but surely promising
A Heaney even or a Kavanagh
(Another holiday discovery – in Spain).

Right there on that first page
Was simply “Fireweed” – a high-flown flower
I’d put to verse two years before2
But your few words caught fire
Inflamed me, with a picture perfect
Brevity of silent rails, in couplets.
Eagerly, this reader travelled on
Past pages pristine yet profoundly
touched with loss -and long-lost
people from your past.

That past we share. The year of birth
An England at the end of tethererd
Empire. Our railways exchanging steam
For dullard, diesel engines, no longer stopping
At those quaint old ‘Adlestrops’.3
Larkinesque some lines; nostalgia nudged aside
Recalling how and when and where
without the trail of tears.

In Auden’s Pennine landscape your roots reach true
Deep and undeadened by the old lead mines.
A northern wind scythes sharply through
Salts humour with humility lest the major poet4
Puff pompous and forget himself.

I’m drawing ever closer to you still;
brass rubbings from an esteemed pedestal.

1. “November” by Sean O’Brien. 2011. Picador
2. Fireweed aka Rosebay willowherb see my “Rose at Bay” (2016)
3. “Adlestrop” – a closed provincial station and poem by Edward Thomas
4. see his “Welcome Major Poet

For my Poetics prompt I challenge us to entitle, and write about, or to,  any one poet of our choice (with the Ode style an extra option). And employing something of the poet's style too if possible in: "A Poem to A Poet"