Al Purdy tells us that poetry cannot buy us anything. That poetry is useless and can buy neither beer nor flower. Quite a few poems that I have read explain the importance of writing poetry even if it doesn’t put food on the table, or money in the bank. I find those poems at times do not fully hit the core theme of art and self expression mostly because the poets and writers that are not published, that go from paycheck to paycheck are not morally superior, but simply the sensitive man
I think that portraying the artist as the happier and better individual than the banker is incredibly naive. I’m not saying without artists we would be better off, I believe the exact opposite, what I’m saying is that the sensitive man, the artist, the poet, the actor, paints the rest of us mere insensitive mortals, a beautiful and descriptive picture of the world and of our hearts that give us a break from the monotonous working world.
Al Purdy in my mind does this exact thing, throughout the poem he describes regular items as flowers, such as the blood on the bathroom floor, or the very beer he is drinking. The sensitive poet cannot buy food with his poetry, or a free pint, but the words he can weave gives us respite from the grey overcoat of the world.