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In Modern Dress Analysis

Author: poem of Craig Raine Type: poem Views: 21

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A pair of blackbirds

warring in the roses,

one or two poppies

losing their heads,

the trampled lawn

a battlefield of dolls.

Branch by pruned branch,

a child has climbed

the family tree

to queen it over us:

we groundlings search

the flowering cherry

till we find her face,

its pale prerogative

to rule our hearts.

Sir Walter Raleigh

trails his comforter

about the muddy garden,

a full-length Hilliard

in miniature hose

and padded pants.

How rakishly upturned

his fine moustache

of oxtail soup,

foreshadowing, perhaps,

some future time

of altered favour,

stuck in the high chair

like a pillory, features

pelted with food.

So many expeditions

to learn the history

of this little world:

I watch him grub

in the vegetable patch

and ponder the potato

in its natural state

for the very first time,

or found a settlement

of leaves and sticks,

cleverly protected

by a circle of stones.

But where on earth

did he manage to find

that cigarette end?

Rain and wind.

The day disintegrates.

I observe the lengthy

inquisition of a worm

then go indoors to face

a scattered armada

of picture hooks

on the dining room floor,

the remains of a ruff

on my glass of beer,

Sylvia Plath's Ariel

drowned in the bath.

Washing hair, I kneel

to supervise a second rinse

and act the courtier:

tiny seed pearls,

tingling into sight,

confer a kind of majesty.

And I am author

of this toga'd tribune

on my aproned lap,

who plays his part

to an audience of two,

repeating my words.


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| Posted on 2013-01-22 | by a guest

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