John Bradburne breathed poetry. It came out of him like water from a tap- and the tap was always on. He would often complain that he was unable to write in prose, and always preferred verse- even in his everyday letters to his family and friends. The climax of a remarkable poetic life, which began in his youth, was the decade from 1969, when he wrote some 6,000 poems- sometimes a dozen or more in a day. The quantity of his work has no precedent- and we have not yet discovered all of it, for much still remains hidden in letter-form in many an attic or drawer. He is the most prolific poet the English language has ever seen. The poetry displays a single-minded enthusiasm and clarity of vision that is compelling in its intensity and endearing in its humanity. His best work contains lines of great beauty and profound spiritual insight.
This people, this exotic clan
Of lepers in array
Of being less yet more than man
As man is worn today:
This is a people born to be
Burnt upward to eternity!
This strange ecstatic moody folk
Of joy with sorrow merged
Destined to shuffle off the yoke
Of all the world has urged:
This oddity, this Godward school
Sublimely wise, whence, I’m it’s fool!
An extract from the poem ‘Mutemwa’. To read the poetry go to the poetry website: www.johnbradburnepoems.com.