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Writers know what an inner silence means. When you feel you have nothing to say – or nothing left to say – and you could skate over your life quite happily, like a teenage skater loving the feel of new blades on firm ice. It’s a kind of blithe, endless happiness that means there is, quite simply, nothing to explain or analyse, nothing to pay attention to but the light scratchings and scorings of the surface of life itself.

Should one worry? As Keats said, If poetry comes not as naturally as the leaves to a tree, it had better not come at all.

The blank page is best left alone, when there is truly nothing that comes to mind. The only light in all this is that there is always a time – well, there’s always been a time, for me – when the words finally come. But for now, I’ll keep skating. Perhaps it’s true that when one is happy there’s not all that much to worry about. It’s often the anxiety that makes the poetry come; and when you spend your life in anguish you have to wonder if the poetry itself, the poetry alone, is worth it. I am not sure it is. And I say that as a poet – as one who has written poetry compulsively since the age of 10.

Sometimes one has to accept that silence is the best form of speech.

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