Item: Webb, Phyllis

Webb, Phyllis
Poem Title:
Middle Distance
Ah Ghalib, you are drinking too much,
your lines are becoming maudlin.

Here, take this tea and sober up. The moon
is full tonight, and I can't sleep.

And look ' this small branch of cherry
blossoms, picked today, and it's only February.

You could use a few cool Japanese images
to put you on the straight and narrow.

Still, I love to study your graceful script,
Urdu amorous, flowing across the page.

There were nights I watched you dip your pen
into the old Persian too, inscribe 'Asad'

with a youthful flourish, Remember Asad,

Mirza Asadullah Beg Khan, who are you really?
Born in Agra, of Turkish ancestry,

fond of women, politics, money, wine.
'Losses and consequent grief' a recurring

theme, also 'a poetry ... of what was,
what could have been possible.'

Ah Ghalib, you are almost asleep,
head on the table, hand flung out,

upturned. In the blue and white jar
a cherry branch, dark pink in the moonlight '

from the land of
only what is.
Item Number:

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Middle Distance
Webb, Phyllis
Library and Archives Canada/Phyllis Webb fonds/LMS-0098/Cassette 11
© Phyllis Webb. Reproduced with the permission of Phyllis Webb.

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