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Tome On The Range

Two Poems By: Roddy Lumsden
Karl Smith , November 3rd, 2013 15:14

This week's new writing, once again in the form of two top drawer poems, comes from London-based Roddy Lumsden

Roddy Lumsden's most recent collections are Terrific Melancholy (Bloodaxe) and The Bells of Hope (Penned in the Margins). His next collection Not All Honey is due in autumn 2014.

He is Poetry Editor for Salt and Series Editor of The Best British Poetry. He lives in London.

Halfway Through the Year of the Rabbit

Omnes hore vulnerant

Yes, a notion of light left in the sky.
Which small pleasures remain but those
surfacing in the standfast law of routine?

Night. I am becoming used to the music,
to the music of this, its struck carillon,
its rosalia of blunder, muddle, gaffe.

I sit in hope for a day that resembles
someone I like. Too often now I'm clean
but used. My yesses are hatching as nos.

I'd sing a lullaby, to which I'd knock
my ancient staff; my thoughts are only
the rick-rack things guests leave in a bothy.

Unsudden pleasures are the room's light,
fur soft, the stack's thrum, the library
of other oddball's inner yells and yawns.

No room at the inn of plenty. No belling
of the stag of 'make it so'. The lark
might rise supreme, which will not happen.

What track is this? Ah, that paramount
of minimalism, silence: slayer of thiscore
and thatcore, queller of downtown music.

If I could learn its pitch, to shrug down
the nipping annoyances, to unhook love's
dandy cape, not to cast this shifty umbra.

Still dawn as far from me as distant suns
or the colossal amours of others. I can't
imagine the morning's flimsy ballerinaing.

Eight hours ahead, the Rabbit, in truth
a Hare, hurdles over the breathy music
of the grass, chasing needs, chasing itself.

Or it chases a train which frisks up the edge
of the slowest of rivers, its eyes pale stones
from that silty fathom. I might yet blossom.

I set the needle down onto another fugue
of silence. My longing brims and spills.
I sense this train could travel either way.


Halfway Through the Year of the Snake

What did winter ever let us do but find edges:
some we could skiff off, some we'd cook and eat.
By summer we had found music, of sorts:
music heard along the beach, also the brash songs

of things snagged in traps. My head went south
to romance, its circusy brilliantine or deft art
of harm. I wanted. Cuss and cant were sweetening.
I sensed some essence. Wanted double cream,

absolute, rapture; did not want a cordon on value,
did not want more than one response. Others,
I knew, parsed or skimmed the day, saw sparrows
as sparrows whiffling the greenery. Not all honey.

Again I prowled the thought of whatever season's
finespun rig-ups. A snake cannot force a home
from a house of cards; its zigzaggish hatchling
would spatter a marmalade blush light bulb.

Yet I didn't clamour for any home, saw stink-hard
through its yammy appeal. Music, I told those
who did not ask, was all of seduction and charm,
the most fine of the small and acceptable seas.

The skim, notice, is not being ample for delicacy.
The sea, too soon a nook to weep in. I fathomed
the ingredients for happy within me. I fashioned
an empty sack, willing to walk to any beginning.

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