English poetry

Poems in English

City Gent

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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Poem City Gent - Craig Raine