Volume > Issue > An Apostrophe to Wordsworth’s Period

An Apostrophe to Wordsworth’s Period


By Laurie Hibbett | July-August 1984

Wordsworth, thou shouldst be living at

this hour.

England hath need of thee, so hath the

United States of America;

Poets and playwrights are angrily spewing


Screaming of sullen Vesuvius soon

to erupt

(Though in truth we might save ourselves

yet if forewarned by abrupt

“Flee like a bird, or stay on to be swallowed

in sludge”)


But the modern prophet is false and he

says, “Do not budge,

For if we should flee to the lake as thou didst surely

some would come skiing

With their transistored ear, motor boated,

and clad in bikinis,

Consigning to deep water pits all the sprites and the

wraiths and the geniis.”


Wordsworth, thy mantle hath fallen. I double it,

striking a blow,

(Which alludes to the prophet Elisha

though few there be lately who know)

And I say to the ones who still hope (there are more of us

left than the false ones admit)

“There are still small pockets of peace

and I’ll find mine and hole up in it,

“And escape the dull world as the true prophet warns,

from Elijah, to Elisha, to Wordsworth, to me,

(And ‘Great God, you’d rather be a pagan suckled

in a creed outworn’

Then imagine my plight more than 200 years

since you were born!)”


Down in south Alabama, the Interstate

bypasses – – – – – (the name of the

town I’m concealing)

But in time, if God wills, with my warmed-over heart

I’ll come stealing,

I’ll talk to the natives; I’ll speak in their

tongue (it is South)

And the word that I heard from the false ones shall

melt in my mouth.

I shall boldly say sentences scoffed at where witch doctors

grovel and grieve,

Beginning with unabashed pronoun and

verb: I BELIEVE.

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