the good listener

you thought
I would hear you
you opened your notebook
you read your poem
but I didn’t know how
to hear
how to hear you
how to hear your poem
or any poem

your mistake was
thinking I was one
of the rare ones
who hear and
who can say
with confidence
you have been heard

a thousand poems later
some my own
if I’m able to say
at least to myself
you have been heard
maybe now I can hear
one of yours—
if you have one that is
if it’s not too late
for forgiveness
if I truly do know
how to hear
how to hear
one of my own

~ Alan Girling

Alan Girling lives in Richmond, BC. His fiction has appeared in such venues as FreeFall, Lichen, Hobart, The MacGuffin, and Galleon; his non-fiction in the anthology, Body Breakdowns, and on CBC radio; and his poetry in Open Wide, Snow Monkey, and River Walk Journal. He was a 2003 Larry Turner Award for non-fiction finalist and winner of Vancouver Co-op Radio’s 2006 Community Dreams Poetry Contest. His play, ‘Whatever Happened to Tom Dudkowski’ was produced in 2007 for Vancouver’s Walking Fish Festival.

One Response to “the good listener”

  1. Oh, yes. I just want to shout, “OH YES!” This is how it is, how we can’t hear or appreciate until we too do, and then, we see and understand, and hear and ask for forgiveness and send flowers or poems to make up for our stupidity.

    What a good poem! An especially good poem for a poet to read, for a poet who can’t get anyone to listen, to read.

    Well done. Enjoyed.

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