Toasting a Muse

Toasting a Muse

One man who came to dinner
wouldn’t eat,
just focused on his hostess
instant eloquent devotion.
He’d stand and say, as if proposing
a toast, ‘I speak this in your honour,
ma’am, you are so beautiful,’
then chant some passionate verse,
and sit and drink some more
until the spirit moved in him
again, then stand and say
‘You are so beautiful’ et cetera
and do another item.
Funny fellow. Poet. Mad as hell.

I been there, sort of.
For in that ambience I too
was smitten, by what seemed
to me unusual radiance,
beauty of spirit lighting up the place,
but I kept quiet about it, made small talk,
stayed sober, and enjoyed the food.


from I been there, sort of: New and Selected Poems (Carcanet, 2006), copyright© Mervyn Morris 2006, used by permission of the author and the publisher.

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Mervyn Morris

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1On Holy Week, a sequence of poems for radio

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2Examination Centre

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3Muse

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4Peelin Orange

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5The Pond

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6Mariners

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7Valley Prince

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8Dadd, Poor Dadd

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9Tutorial

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10Journey into the Interior

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11Cave

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12Windscreen

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13Stripper

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14Shadows

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15Birthdays

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16Literary Evening, Jamaica

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17Toasting a Muse

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18Gaffes

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19To an Expatriate Friend

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20To the Unknown Non-Combatant

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21Grounation

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22Cabal

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23The Roaches

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24Case-History, Jamaica

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25Nursery

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26Afro-Saxon

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27For Consciousness

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28Jamaica 1979

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29Meeting

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30Data

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31Dreamtime

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32Short Story

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33Walk Good

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34Moment of Truth

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35Persephone

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36Narcissus

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37A Voyage

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38The Lovers

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39Critic

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40Peacetime

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41Family Pictures

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42Sister

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43Seen

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44Connection

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45Pussycat

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46Version

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47Memento

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48In the Garden

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49Eve

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50Happy Hour

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51Casanova

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52North Coast Hotel

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53Little Boy Crying

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54Proposition One

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55Togetherness

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56Give T'anks

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57Love Is

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58There was a Young Poet

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59Departure Lounge

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60To a Crippled Schoolmaster

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61The Day My Father Died

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62Granny

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63Hey, Ref!

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64Outing

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65Postcard

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66Pre-Carnival Party

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67Danse Macabre

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68Diptych

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69Garden

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70Birthday Poem

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71Terminal

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72My Rodney Poem

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73Historian

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74Checking Out

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75Palimpsest

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76A Chant Against Death

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Books by Mervyn Morris