Friday, November 11, 2011

I Wish I'd Written This

My favourite lyric poet, Michael Dransfield, died when he was only 24. There are various stories about his death. One says that, after finally winning a long battle with heroin, he was given morphine for his injuries in a motorcycle accident and got hooked again. Another says he died from tetanus, acquired from a dirty needle. Like many of his readers, I discovered him posthumously.

My very favourite Dransfield poem, for its evocative beauty of language and its musicality, is Patricia’s Raga. (Note: There’s a misprint in the copy at this link. The phrase is ‘sarod and ‘tablas’, not ‘sarod and tables’! ) Nevertheless I don’t wish I had written it, because I wouldn’t want to be so well acquainted with addiction! Many of his other poems, brilliant though they are, speak of sadness and isolation; he tends to place himself as the outsider.

This little love poem, though, I think near perfect.

Pas de deux for lovers

Morning ought not
to be complex.
The sun is a seed
cast at dawn into the long
furrow of history.

To wake
and go
would be so simple.


how the 
first light
makes gold her hair

upon my arm.
How then
shall I leave,
and where away to go.  Day
is so deep already with involvement.

There is a substantial collection of his poems here. Click on any of them to find treasures. Icarus, Ground Zero, July with her, July Poem, Love (dialogue) poem, Ryokan, Souvenir of Casino, Death as Triumph, To a lover going, O Genevieve sweet Genevieve... Oh heck, read them all!

Most of his books are on Amazon. I recommend the Collected Poems because then you get the lot. Fortunately for the readers he left behind, he was a prolific poet.  I don't think he ever wrote a bad poem!

Poems and photos used in ‘I Wish I’d Written This’ remain the property of the copyright holders (usually their authors).


  1. Thanks Rosemary,
    Such extraordinary writing.

  2. Thanks Rosemary for introducing Michael Dransfield here. I have enjoyed what I have read so far and now have much more to read!

  3. his lines are Fantastic.Some poets are stellar simply because they dont follow conventional pattern - like Kerouac or Rimbaud- their genius is layered and what makes them fascinating is that- the more the effort to interpret them, the more rooms their lines open up to.Thank you for introducing him.

  4. Thanks for the introduction - his words are beautiful.:)

  5. I enjoyed the poem you shared, Rosemary, and also went to read some more. Wonderful poetry indeed. So sad that Dransfielddied at only age 24, but he certainly left a beautiful legacy.

  6. Thanks so much for the introduction. I will definitely read them all!

  7. Brilliantly talented, sad that his light flickered out too soon. Thanks for this introduction, Rosemary.

  8. So good! Thank-you. 'Day is so deep already with involvement.' Wow.

  9. Delighted to have made you all acquainted with him!

  10. Lovely becoming acquainted with a new poet, particularly one who is romantically dead but dishy ;) Reminds me a little of Nijinsky...


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