Bought on Ebay
For Terry Pratchett
I made an offer, sixty less than was asked.
Each page is rich as cream, its sumptuous
edges silked in gold. A map’s inside the illustrated cover,
half-bound in chocolate leatherette. Some volumes
are entirely out of print, cost close to fifty quid
on Amazon. I own a lesser copy of them all
- but these aren’t to be owned, but to be mothered.
They’re not the thing itself, the waves of thought
that wash profound and shallow over puns
and poignancy. They’re just the tissue nest, the foil
of gold round champagne truffles given by a lover.
And now it seems there won’t be any more,
your wild, warm thoughts now drifting loose. So
cruel for a writer. But all final ills are cruel;
all victims feel as victimised, however it is sugared.
I’ve heard they’ll rise in value now, these books,
the fans will want mementoes, try to mend you,
keep you clear and fine, in ink and leatherette;
so they’ll appreciate, as I’ve discovered –
though in the end I got the set for fifty less
than had been asked. But know that I’d
have paid much more to have you write another.