(1966 / St Andrews, Scotland)


The Royal Mail Hotel refuses to be verbed.
It does not squat and it will not loiter,
it baffles each challenge, announces
‘call me a bastard of a newish nation',
‘a sump of heat and brigand nerve'.
It swiffs between a tight lack of shadow
and impossible shadows which point lazily
and longly towards an imaginal sea.

There are no jackdaws, minimal chess
is apparent. This is a town she would not
walk out of, sun-bright, with catharsis
guddling her rainless tongue. Tea rose,
beagle and rockpool drain from memory.
The sky is a monstrous itch, the very blue
of hunger or the super blue of desire.
Rocks scowl, rocks impersonate the real.

There is moving and there is the moment.
The out. The back. Even if pleasure descends,
a home away from home, then anyone
might stand at this brink, this fugitive nub
with occasional trains and improbable rain,
seeing, now that hope grips a shoulder
with a lenient hand, that the one way out
is the fair twin of the way in: to choose it.

by Roddy Lumsden

Other poems of LUMSDEN (33)

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