Alcohol and Poetry
When the Lions came into Town
When the lions came into town, one rode on a lorry
And the other walked behind, as good as their manes were gold.
A policeman stopped them at a crossing, and a crowd collected,
Chattering, fearful; but I was not afraid
Even when the lion approached me and put his muzzle to my hand.
The man and the woman set up house with their animals:
The lions drowsed in the dining-room, puma cubs played in the kitchen,
A long-legged cheetah loped up the hall to greet me
With purrs in her soft-furred throat (in time with my blood's beat)
And a nudge of her head and a swipe of her rasping tongue;
And a lynx lay warm and sunlit in the staircase window
Looking at me as if I were a far horizon,
Brooding on a distance beyond me, with his seaman's eyes.
The man takes no heed, busy at some work of his own.
'Come into the next room,' says the woman, smiling.
(Half-dark in there, and stuffy with the curtains closed.)
A lamp's light flashes off her hooped golden earrings
As she stoops. 'I don't show these to everyone.' Two human heads,
A man and a woman, smooth-skinned, open-eyed,
Face to face in a box on a lace-eged pillow.
And the woman with the earrings smooths her black hair, murmuring,
'I had them from my mother, and she from her mother.'
She draws the lamp nearer, and the shadows twitch and skip
In the hollows of the faces, as if they sought to speak.
What can they say that is any concern of mine?
I will go back to the daylight, and play with the living animals,
With the lion who knew me and came to me when first he saw me,
With the soft-purring cheetah, and the lynx lying in the window
Dreaming on eternal distance, with his soul in his eyes.
- 10th Muse
- Angel Exhaust
- Blithe Spirit
- Brando's hat
- Brittle Star
- Cannon's Mouth, The
- Coffee House, The
- Dream Catcher
- Floating Bear, The
- French Literary Review, The
- Frogmore Papers, The
- Global Tapestry
- Grosseteste Review
- Homeless Diamonds
- Interpreter's House, The
- Journal, The
- Lamport Court
- London Magazine, The
- Modern Poetry in Translation
- Monkey Kettle
- Neon Highway
- New Welsh Review
- North, The
- Obsessed with pipework
- Oxford Poetry
- Painted, spoken
- Paper, The
- Pen Pusher Magazine
- Poetry Cornwall
- Poetry London
- Poetry London (1951)
- Poetry Nation
- Poetry Review, The
- Poetry Salzburg Review
- Poetry Scotland
- Poetry Wales
- Private Tutor
- Purple Patch
- Rain Dog
- Reach Poetry
- Review, The
- Rialto, The
- Second Aeon
- Seventh Quarry, The
- Smiths Knoll
- Strange Faeces
- Tabla Book of New Verse, The
- Tolling Elves
- Ugly Tree, The
- Wolf, The
- Yellow Crane, The