States of Poetry ACT
We would sit on the wings of his knees
and see-saw our way through stories
No one is going to come and save you.
And because of this you must fold
your clothes at day's end
despite the urge to abandon them
to the backs of chairs. You must shake
the crumple of sleep from the sheet.
You must clean your teeth. Wash the teaspoons.
Fold your pyjamas too and lay the neat squares
to rest under your pillow of a morning
For the soft-handled horse-mane hair
of the half moon brush
The gleam of pewter, copper, glass.
For the carpet palimpsest of patterned lives
that lie layered in the deep pile – embedded
wine, coffee, blood, bread, skin, and ash.
For the possibility of preserving presence
and particularity in a photograph.
For the quiet reliability of maps that ...
Timing and manner my mum would always say
and it's true, the how and when override the what
of what's said, and the same is true of poetry.
I don't think people remember their tone when speaking –
other people's yes, but not their own. Tone, like texture, is crucial
for the feel of things – is it honey or cactus, metal or water?
And if the words ...
Without bucket or spade we build
the sandcastle, dragging and gathering
piling and patting our little Camelot.
I excavate a moat, shape a drawbridge,
a sloping road leading to the keep,
while you look for shells to decorate
the edifice, or so I thought, the way we'd
done last holiday some months ago.
But this time you have another purpose:
instead of ...
‘... the last refuge of a scoundrel’.
But here and there a whisk of it
does no essential harm:
an accidental win or t ...
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