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City Gent Analysis

Author: poem of Craig Raine Type: poem Views: 9

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On my desk, a set of labels

or a synopsis of leeks,

blanched by the sun

and trailing their roots

like a watering can.

Beyond and below,

diminished by distance,

a taxi shivers at the lights:

a shining moorhen

with an orange nodule

set over the beak,

taking a passenger

under its wing.

I turn away, confront

the cuckold hatstand

at bay in the corner,

and eavesdrop (bless you!)

on a hay-fever of brakes.

My Caran d'Ache are sharp

as the tips of an iris

and the four-tier file

is spotted with rust:

a study of plaice

by a Japanese master,

ochres exquisitely bled.

Instead of office work,

I fish for complements

and sport a pencil

behind each ear,

a bit of a devil,

or trap the telephone

awkwardly under my chin

like Richard Crookback,

crying, A horse! A horse!

My kingdom for a horse!

but only to myself,

ironically: the tube

is semi-stiff with stallion whangs,

the chairman's Mercedes

has windscreen wipers

like a bird's broken tongue,

and I am perfectly happy

to see your head, quick

round the door like a dryad,

as I pretend to be Ovid

in exile, composing Tristia

and sad for the shining,

the missed, the muscular beach.


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