Thursday, 3 October 2013

National Poetry Day 2013

Thought I might as well mark National Poetry Day, as I do write it occasionally. You know when you're a kid and you get the wrong end of the stick about something you've only heard about in passing? And then you never get disabused of the idea? This is about when I realised the Elgin Marbles weren't big round rocks. Yeah, I was an idiot. And about 25.


A Misapprehension
remembering the British museum

We’d taken the whole day off I think,
escape via annual leave.  A virgin page
in a brand new Moleskine journal, begging
to be filled with our unoriginal musings
on culture and art.  ‘We have this  great city
on our doorstep’.  ‘A scandal’. ‘We really must’
‘Let’s be one of those couples’.

I’d wanted to see the Elgin Marbles.
Since childhood years, I’d pictured those
huge cool spheres. A giant’s game of Rolley Hole,
wasn’t the wonder in how smooth they are?
The seventh Earl called keepsies, when Greece
thought they had been playing fair. [Of course,
 rules should be decided in advance.]

‘Over here’, you said. You realised, but didn't
smirk. My eyes tracked the gallery,
bemused. A cathedral aisle of polished floor;
supplicants crowded the walls. Oh.
Marbles.
How could I not have known? The blood
in my ears felt thicker. Hot. Words buzzed.
Distorted, in swimming pool air.

The sightless fury of a centaur, remaining limbs
still striking for the throat. That discorporate
mare. Poor Ginger on the knacker’s cart,
tongue lolling. Torsos missing only the gibbet.
Exposed to time and air and public scrutiny.
No Arcadian pursuit after all. Who’d have thought?

We bought coffee and perched, high on stools.



36 comments:

  1. The final straw would be if youd told the kids about the marbles...lol

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  2. That's really good. I'm pleased you marked National Poetry Day by sharing one of your own, I like it. More please! xxxx

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  3. That's wonderful...I'm with Curtise, more poetry, please! xxx

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  4. Oh i know that feeling so well! Growing up a reader in a family with a smallish vocabulary i was frequently sent swimmy and hot from mispronouncing words in more educated company!
    National poetry day hey? I shall go read bubble trouble by margaret mahy to claud to celebrate x

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  5. What you mean I've got to the ripe old age of 38 thinking they were actual big round rocks and I am wrong?! *rushes off the google to broaden my education*

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  6. That's lovely - do you know the Flecker poem Oak & Olive, where he captures the Marbles with the lines "And there's a hall in Bloomsbury / No more I dare to tread, / For all the stone men shout at me / And swear they are not dead; / And once I touched a broken girl / And knew that marble bled." (Of course, I've never dared touch them myself, but I always think about this when I see them!)

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  7. That was lovely, thank you! Our hotel window looked out onto the British Museum, so much to see there, sadly no time this visit. I wanted to be a poet when I was much younger, guess I was good... I had a couple of rock gods want to put them to music but didn't like the terms implied, so kept it all to myself (lot of good that did.) Did get a bunch published when I was in High School though. Now you have me thinking I should try again... or at least crack open one of my beloved books! XXX

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  13. Love your poetry Lakota. Hope all good with you. Hugs, Em x

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