No 150 - 1997
Rufus At Ocean Beach
The king is on his boogie board,
bragging and cursing in the breakers
like some red-head bull seal. He is
attended by the usual crew
of promising young men - oiled bodies
worked up in the gym, sport
in the daytime, drunk at night.
The queen does not come to the beach.
She is concerned for her complexion.
Other ladies from the court
spread towels and wax their legs, attended
by those gentlemen his majesty’s
good pleasure is unlikely to require
today. Bikini straps may sometimes
be unloosed, they say. The king
thinks little of such laxity.
My the lord the Bishop sits among
the dunes, his entourage around him.
A chaplain reads the morning office
while his lordship gazes silently
to sea. Maybe he is reflecting
on some mystery, or thinks
of the archbishop and his journey
into exile. Most probably
he reckons that the king will be
expecting him to pay for lunch.
I see that Eadric’s Seafood Shack
is offering pan-fried lampreys with
a garlic mayonnaise - tossed
on a bed of rocket and roast peppers
- as their special for today.
His majesty could go for that.
Ranulf the Chancellor is busy
with his laptop, under the shadow
of the only clump of trees. He will
wait patiently until the king
is in a mood to sign state papers,
then dispatch his minions
to serve a writ, collect a fee.
People complain about the taxes;
but the king will be commissioning
a new design of longbow, and
he will not take the field without
support of Flemish mercenaries.
The papers carry rumours that
King Louis moves against the Vexin;
will the Count of Anjou stay his hand?
More news of trouble in Jerusalem.
Another anti-Pope declared.
The price of worsted still holds firm.
The king calls for a bigger board,
gets up to ride and, for a moment,
looks invincible, astride
the surge of power beneath his feet:
- then he is down and floundering
in the surf, quite suddenly at risk
as all the young bloods move to his
assistance - Walter Tirel riding
like an arrow through the spray
- 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