Vol 13 No 1
Falling At The Last
For Christopher & Georgie Wates
The autumn sun comes slanting through the hedge
As if a sideways slouch might hide intent;
We’re bound for darkness, tilting on the edge…
And somehow, knowing what it was one meant
To do or be, this seems a perfect time
To make a change. The trouble is one can’t
Unless one swigs a double slug of shame:
One’s made so many promises, and now
Must stick to them, or else must scratch one’s name.
It’s not as if the race went on, round and round,
With marshals standing there, disconsolate.
It’s not the sort of thing one had in mind
When one sat, grinning, at the starting-gate.
We’re heading for the fence, and then the sprint -
Not very far. So: time to hesitate,
Or else to veer across the rails, hell-bent
On self-destruction, or to canter off,
Along a grassy ride, whistling, insouciant.
Of course one gives a damn, but best to laugh
And tell the tales. He hitched a lift to Greece.
He joined the Foreign Legion. He cured his cough
In Tenerife. They set up shop in Nice.
He put his fiddle on his back and strolled
to Spain. He joined the Mounted Police....
The trouble is to find oneself grown old
And not to know. It’s time to act your age,
Old alter ego says: where you have failed,
Accept your fate. Relax. No point in rage.
Be cool. Retreat. O Keeper of the Debt,
O Judge of all the world, O Holy Sage,
Whose side d’you take? The Kindly Ones forget
Their rules and smile. Things have gone awry.
There are many fallers - and the favourite
Dislodged his mount; distrait, distraught, astray,
The riderless are streaming for the fence.
Do we declare sufficient for the day
Or risk our winnings on a second chance?
- 10th Muse
- Angel Exhaust
- Blithe Spirit
- Brando's hat
- Brittle Star
- Cannon's Mouth, The
- Coffee House, The
- Dream Catcher
- Floating Bear, The
- French Literary Review, The
- Frogmore Papers, The
- Global Tapestry
- Grosseteste Review
- Homeless Diamonds
- Interpreter's House, The
- Journal, The
- Lamport Court
- London Magazine, The
- Modern Poetry in Translation
- Monkey Kettle
- Neon Highway
- New Welsh Review
- North, The
- Obsessed with pipework
- Oxford Poetry
- Painted, spoken
- Paper, The
- Pen Pusher Magazine
- Poetry Cornwall
- Poetry London
- Poetry London (1951)
- Poetry Nation
- Poetry Review, The
- Poetry Salzburg Review
- Poetry Scotland
- Poetry Wales
- Private Tutor
- Purple Patch
- Rain Dog
- Reach Poetry
- Review, The
- Rialto, The
- Second Aeon
- Seventh Quarry, The
- Smiths Knoll
- Strange Faeces
- Tabla Book of New Verse, The
- Tolling Elves
- Ugly Tree, The
- Wolf, The
- Yellow Crane, The