I'd like to think that my younger brother spends much of his time in the company of other poets.
He's dead, so I can't be sure. But I can imagine it well enough: an expression of handsome, thoughtful intelligence on his face - perhaps a hint of soft humour - as he discusses the beauty and aching of language with fellows whose ages span hundreds of years; all of whom have taken their astute observations of life, their wholly-felt experiences of mind, body and soul, and distilled them into those wonderful shapes and hues we call poetry.
My mother and I were visiting the restricted ward my brother was in at the time. I looked into his face and saw so much yearning - to understand, to be understood. Perhaps no different to any of us, just plainer to see for his madness.
I found paper and pen and wrote down the first line of a verse. I can't remember it now - it'll have been whatever came into my head at the time. I passed the paper to my mother. She added the second line then passed it to my brother. He added the third. It was funny, as I recall. But then wit always was one of The Ghost's defining characteristics.
We carried on, sometimes just three lines then beginning again, other times many lines before one of us would decide it complete. We did this each time we visited. After his release from the ward my brother continued to write poetry, almost constantly until his suicide four years later. I was always amazed at how piercing his observations, and so sad for his fight and his pain. Sometimes we wrote pieces together. If the two of us were angry at the same time, the works we created were monstrous. Yet there were days we created quiet joy.
The photo above is one of Joe Gordon's, that he very kindly said I could use. It's some literally street poetry he spotted one evening whilst out for a wander. I love it. And thank whoever took the time to write in there. Perhaps their hand was guided by the dead poets' society I believe in - The Ghost, his friends and their common language of understanding.