Friday, February 08, 2013

Rhubarb and custard verses

My life is a chaos of boxes and suitcases today, so I thought I'd post something which (tries) to make a virtue of brevity, rather than the sort of long-winded essay with which I began the week.  This is one of a sequence of poems called 'Urban Legends' which Alex Wild has accepted for publication in the forthcoming 47th issue of brief. Reading over it this morning I realised, with an all-too-familiar sagging feeling, that I'd filched one of the images from the great Tomas Transtromer, a poet I read about as often as I brush my teeth.

In Hyde Park

at the bottom of that wishing well:
the gold and silver
of Hadrian's Londinium

I feel like a pilot staring down
at the lights of a city
where I cannot land

Whiney East End rapper The Streets made a more memorable homage to Britain's Roman past on 'Turn the Page', the first track on his first album, Original Pirate Material:

That's it, turn the page on the day, walk away
'Cause they're sensing what I say I'm 45th generation Roman
But I don't know 'em or care when I'm spitting
So return to your sitting position and listen, it's fitting
I'm miles ahead and they chase me
Show yer face on TV, then we'll see
You're can't do half, my crew laughs at yer rhubarb and custard verses
Yer rain down curses but I'm waving, Yer hearse is driving by...
In the afterlife Gladiators meet their maker 
Thrown through the wind fields and lakes of blue water 
To the next life from the fortress 
Away from the knives and slaughter 
To their wives and daughters 
Once more before the law judges over all of us 
Cos in this place you'll see me 
Brace yourself, cos this goes deep 
I'll show you the secrets the sky and the birds 
Actions speak louder than words 
Stand by me my apprentice 
Be brave, Clench fists. 

[Posted by Scott Hamilton]


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