As I expounded The Man With the Blue Guitar
my students outwitted me.

Eyes glazed, or averted, they declined
to pick up a single question,
forcing me to drone alone. I was so boring
I fell asleep.

Then a little way off
through the opaque white screens in my head
I started to make out a voice.
It was expounding The Man With the Blue Guitar.

Startled, I awoke, talking. Seven stanzas it had taught
without any prompting from me. Though curious,
I still didn’t have enough gall
to check its performance from anybody’s notes.

from The Long and the Short of It: Poems 1955-2005 (Bloodaxe, 2005), copyright © Roy Fisher 2005, used by permission of the author.

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