Saturday, November 14, 2015

November 14th 1955; 'Tombland: How soon hath Time, the subtle thief of youth'

Tombland: How soon hath Time, the subtle thief of youth

‘Wet, golden-leaved pathways. Past
the Agency, the pub, the coinshops, the new
community bookshop… Poet, on his twenty-
fourth birthday, shelters in yards and doorways

to write:
Past Talbot’s Cafe, where men play dominoes,
set before repeat afternoon television. Passing
the old man headed there – his tartan hat beacon

of you-know-what – as he says to all passers,
paralytic fingers twitching, “Are you now all right?”
Answer yes to his eyes, nothing to nothing. On;

to the watery Back-of-the-Inns, and round past
Tombland at early dusk, late-autumn afternoon,
wet leaves stuck to cobbles under homing feet.’

Milton Sonnet VII: 1632/November 14th 1979/2007/Remode 2014

For more on this metamorphosed birthday poem, see here. (And, yes, it's my birthday. This doesn't seem like ten years ago, but it was!) What's he laughing about, below? See here for what's in the birthday present, and here.

And for all the poems de-selected from my new 'selected poems', History or Sleep, see here.