(17-18 January 1995) after Rudyard Kipling

When the book’s last poem is written, and the book’s been put on the shelf, when the poet’s dead and buried, and his friends forget what he said, we shall read what he has written—sit down for an hour or two, to see whether we shall understand what he intended us to. And those who get something will be happy: they shall read some more; they shall imagine they know his world as he once imagined it; they shall find real frogs and plants in his imaginary gardens; they shall read his all work with joy and never be tired of it! And when they praise the poet, it is themselves who deserve the praise; and when they blame the poet, the poet is certainly to blame; for when it works, it’s they who are working, each in his private mode, reading the poems as he sees them, each for his own sense of good.