At sixteen, finding him, I shouted
Eureka and hosanna! Here was a spirit-blaze
Consuming every lesser poetic idol.
He made me hear my native tongue
As if it were for the first time.
I’m afraid you'd find him obscure,
Coarse or overblown or just plain sloppy.
But I have loved his words
For thirty years and counting!
A working-class lad from the provinces
With a tenth-grade education
Bullying his way to immortality:
A young dog roaring like a druid lion,
A verbal Merlin on a pagan sabbath
Glorying the grass, brooks, nooks, dales, vales,
The oceans above, alive and bright with stars:
Hymnographer of a bellicose century,
Voice of a curly cardigan'd angel
Thundering peace to the coal-black veins of the earth.