Sunday, 8 May 2011

Poem of the '90s

Pearl's Poem of Joy and Treasure (1995)

Spout, pout, spout. Put my spittle all about.
Bare feet pressing down wet upon the glamorous
deciduous rugs of gold. Otherwise
needles and cones, sheep bones, crisps
and ox-cheek for tea.
Dark despair around benights me.
Above the burn I listen for the turn
of the water against the tumblestones,
wag my tongue like a wand
in the law wind. Fierce light
invades my eyes and shut face, closed for the night.
Unable to sleep, despite the hardness of the day,
I cluck and purr.
Why am I ashamed of my permanent silence?
In the brilliant heather, shin deep, I am
a good lass, purring and foaming, friend of green breasted
plover, keen listener to the wind in the wires; all
the bees and beasts understand
my milky fingers and palms.
I whet my whistle in the same pools -
at one with the world.
This white water upland empire, hidden
moss grows in the cracks.
I felt my way there when climbing
the bank, press my head there, soft emerald cushions,
when summer sleep takes on.
The wind runs and roars from the west, from the ferry landings
long and long until tears almost drown me
for consonants and vowels, sentences of good measure,
for an understanding of the very word syntax, brought
to my cavernous mouth, practising the words Appleby, Penrith, Shap.
Rosehip plucker, mitts needing repair,
here mam, on the sideboard, longing
for the words capital letter, Ordnance Survey map, to
read the true height of the law, emphasise my longing.
Twine my tongue and ease its itch.
Make the sky so borage blue.
Let the argent stars shine on my upturned smiling face
and furnish me with hope.
I need all the love I can hold.

Barry MacSweeney (1948-2000)
[post on him to follow]

No comments: