by Kendrick Smithyman
Pump the old harmonium in a back room.
The kettle's on for tea at four o'clock.
A man's to get born, who'll cry I wake!
Three creased hymnals breathless with must,
cracked Edison-Bell cylinders, red zither too,
gather; are gathered. Limp, hot curtains drag.
Why not brew tea? Your ducks are shuffling home,
bad dogs disturb the paddocks near.
I scrawl a name, then churn a pond to dust.
Delegate to some not incredible story,
granddam of a clan dares tottered steps
in her too small shoes in her oldest way
to confuse me this with that, between shells
which insubstantially pretend to close
our hearing to their one obdurate wave.
Beat! At this ear, while at the other Hush!
the mantle conch informs. An old lady sighs
mewed next to nothing though yesterday made bold.
Bedded with pain a greatgranddaughter tries
birth as a last recourse, presuming on that ghost
her belly must give up with fervent tears.
To pacify us caught pour testy cups,
bitterly scoff between familiar walls.
Our gig's ochrish wheels spin out a mile
to part, to join us.
A child thrusts clear, and calls.
Last updated January 14, 2019