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Royal Festival Hall (Level 5), Southbank Centre, LondonOpen Tuesday - Sunday from 11am to 8pm
speaks without a drawl.
He can’t lasso his verses in
– no flick of wrist
no quick tug at the line –
even when they stray beyond his range.
Nor does he write love poems
lonesome round the campfire
late at night.
During his long hours in the saddle
inspiration never keeps him company;
and after public readings to a rowdy
saloon audience of gambling men
and good time gals, he don’t collect
The cowboy poet lays it on the line
strictly for cash. He never writes free verse
but wants a large down-payment for materials;
then doesn’t show or take your calls
for weeks. When finally he swaggers in,
he squats down on one heel, pencil
in hand, writes half a haiku, words
and messed up pages strewn around.
He needs tea by the mug-full, and eats
your last Hob Nob; moseys out to take a leak
then says he’s low on couplets, but reckons
he might know where he can get some
cheap. He heads off west, into the sonnet
that is sunset, promising to be back
Friday at the latest, or next week,
to finish off the job.
(after Kate Clanchy)
We thought you’d like to know:
that the colour of my eyes, which is also yours,
smells of the sea, pungent
with bladder wrack, flecked with an approaching storm,
that your father’s hair, which is also yours,
is the sound of a stone lobbed into the deepest well,
splashing, then stilled,
that you’re likely to inherit our height,
which tastes of the cool, peat-laden spring
at the furthest reaches of Loch Maree,
that the shade of your skin
is smooth as the finest sand of Ullapool,
kissed repeatedly by a loving tide,
that you live in a tall, white building,
high above the ocean,
where one day, you will own the brightest eye.