If you were asked to think of the title of a poem what would you think of: Daffodils, Ode to Autumn or The Lady of Shallot ? Whichever title you thought of was almost certainly a title with a capital letter for each main word, and it would probably be about nature, love or philosophy. The title of the poem being read and discussed on Radio 4 in this week's edition of Poetry on Air - aired at 10.05 am today and repeated at 6.30 pm tomorrow - has no capital letters, and is not about nature or love. It is simply called don't come round but if you do . . . It is an appropriate title in that it prepares us for the tone of the poem, which is very conversational and colloquial. Charles Bukowski is American, born in 1920, and his poetry embodies the colloquial directness that some American poetry has brought to twentieth century English literature. The tone of everyday conversation is established from the start. yeah sure, I'll be in unless I'm out. 'Yeah' is often said instead of 'yes' in spoken English and by opening the poem with a 'yeah', Bukowski upsets the old-fashioned idea of poetry needing high poetic formal language. The poem goes on to establish that the poet is poor and living in simple lodgings. But the welcome is there if visitors are prepared to take him as they comes: . . .you can have yesterday's newspaper an old shirt or a bologna sand wich or sleep on the couch if you don't scream at night. This spirit of hospitality, albeit the basic hospitality of the poor, is offered in difficult economic times when many people may be out of work or not have much money: hard times are upon us all. Bukowski goes on to disassociate himself from financially better off middle class Americans: . . .I am not trying to raise a family to send through Harvard, or buy hunting land, I am not aiming high I am only trying to keep myself alive just a little longer Harvard is one of the United States' top universities. Hunting is a sport associated with the rich and aristocratic. So Bukowski is establishing that he is not a middle class poet, he is very much a poor working man. The poem builds up in tension. There are several images of visitors coming and the poet being in but refusing to open the door: so even if (you come to visit) the lights are on and you hear sound like breathing or praying or singing a radio or the roll of dice or typing - go away, it is not the day the night, the hour; it is not the ignorance of impo liteness, I wish to hurt nothing, not even a bug. . . The poet builds up a picture of a friendly but poor poet who, if he invited you in, would be very hospital. But if the poet is in and he doesn't want to open the door then it is better to go away. But why, if the poet is so friendly, would he not open the door if he is in? The last part of the poem answers this question and the answer is a bleak one. It seems that at the time the poet wrote this poem he was feeling very down about something. The poem does not tell us what the poet was depressed about but it makes clear that the man behind the door is making a big decision - whether to live or die. . . . sometimes I gather evi dence of a kind that takes some sorting, and your blue eyes, be they blue and your hair, if you have some or your mind - they cannot en ter until the rope is cut or knotted or until I have shaven into new mirrors, until the wound is stopped or opened forever. We don't know what the 'evidence' is Bukowski has gathered but it is clearly very depressing - maybe a lover's infidelity or the threat of nuclear war. Whatever it is, he is staying inside and not answering the door until he has made up his mind whether to go on, or give up. If we were to compare this poem written in colloquial language with a 19th century poem with its formal diction and classical punctuation and poetic form, we would see it represents a revolution in poetry that Bukowski and some fellow American poets brought to poetry in English. This is an edited version of the programme.