Saturday, 1 September 2012

Self, Rising by Roddy Lumsden

There comes a day when you realise
El Greco lived long before the sugar cube.

You are reading about Hilaire Belloc
while listening to 'Don't Fear the Reaper',

You are thinking of knocking up a chowder,
one Beckett might appreciate, although

you know he would prefer the window ajar,
the soft hustle of a village cricket game.

You wish you were better at cakes, the sort
your dexterous flatmate conjures so easily:

chevrons of zippy sponge, chocolate numerals,
soppy thoughts baked to amorous conclusion.

Even the filthiest lie will take air and soar.
There are frogs smaller than a thumbnail,

rabbitlings nimbling in cages on the Ramblas,
some moments are best not spent thinking big.

It's fine not to be sure of dragee and angelica,
to find arrowroot and mace not at the back

of your spice drawer, but in the hinterlands
of fluctuant persuasions – you can't know all.

It's coming on five, it's the tail of summer,
so something must give in the sifting game

of detach, caution, pang. Far cities drift,
islands turn slow on their igneous masts,

the wheel is invented, but the biggest one
is always yet to be hoisted and spun up.

A fallen nickel glints in the skyscraper's shadow;
a gaptooth girl knee-high to a model of Wadlow.

The strangest things we harbour are much like
smudges around the mouth, cream smears,

paintbox mishaps, oafish smooches, all told,
the day's a mystery package, so preheat the oven,

heave out the mixing bowl. Most days you count
the times you have fallen hard. It's not enough.

Roddy Lumsden's latest book is The Bells of Hope, published by Penned in the Margins. 

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