Watson Tells Holmes a Thing or Two

 

You see, but you do not preserve.

You are a genius,

a Mozart of cigar-ash.

You nose like a bloodhound, you flip up your coat-tails, you smoke

and know the answer

before the huffing client and the puffing doctor

pant up to the question.

You solve the problem

with all the careless ease of Mozart

improvising at the harpsichord.

I, the staid revolver, stalwart butt, your Boswell,

your Plutarch,

endure and witness, scribble in fug and disorder,

scraped by your vagrant bow;

I scratch your giant outline on a sheet of foolscap-

cave painter, or a savage in the desert

hoeing a shape he will never see whole--:

for all the world as if a boy

half -trained, enraptured,

should creep beneath the harpsichord,

crouch on his haunches,

despairing fingers racing,

scrawling out notes and weeping,

weeping thick tears and wiping,

scratching away in the shadows,

preserving a fragment:

Mozart in glory,

Mozart in liquor, kicking the boy in the kidney,

somehow making music,

the half of which is kicked or pissed away

and never caught on paper

though the fingers scurry.

 

            But you are not a Mozart:

Mozart at intervals sat with his quills and preserved.

This is my music:

while you lounge, petulant, and nurse your needle,

I daub the walls by torchlight, hoe

the shallow and enduring outline through the fields,

arrange the notes on staffs,

Make beauty of fug and disorder.

This is my music,

but I concede

you are at times invaluable,

Holmes.

 

Philip Krummrich