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SSar's Beast
Today, related to a decorative window artefact I am making for my friend Pip, I remembered a poem I hadn't read in some time. I knew I'd read it in a book borrowed from the library, and the mood of the poem was on my mind so that I really wanted to find it again.

Problem: I didn't know the name of the poem, the name of the author, the nationality of the author, the title of the poetry collection it was published in, or more than one or two keywords IN the poem.

I went to the library and found it within 20 minutes, by assuming correctly that I could use intuition to narrow down the author name and the book cover, despite not having read it for at least four years. (Last time I saw it, I'd typed it up and saved it on a floppy disk...!)

It is my pleasure to re-post for you:


And, looking out, she might
have said, 'We could have all
of this,' and would have meant
the serious ivy
on the thirteen trunks, the
ochre field behind, soothed
passage of the cars, slight
pressure of the sparrow's
chirps - just what the old glass
gently tested, bending,
she would have meant, and not
a dream ascending.

And, looking in, she might
have seen the altering
cream of unemphatic
light across the bevel
of the ceiling's beam, and,
shaken by the flare of
quiet wings around the
room as martins hovered
at the guttering, she
might have soon settled for
these things, without the need
for certainties elsewhere.

So, 'Please,' she would have said.
'We could,' she would have said,
and 'Maybe', mildly. Then,
selling out, buying in,
the drawling light and the
quiet squall of martins'
wings again, again, she
might have soon discerned her
self, seeing them. Not things,
but seeing things. And with
such care, it would be like
being shown what was not there.

It was the old glass cooled
the colours and transposed
them in a different key. It
chastened most of what the
sparrow said, and made an
affilatura of
the tree. She would have known
the consolation that
it gave, and smiled to see
the unthought-of tricks she
needed, and the sort of
liar she was, or might soon be.

As things came in, and as
they spread and sprayed, she could
have tilted up her face
in the soft fuss they made,
encouraging the cheat
with shivering lashes,
tremulo, fermo, wide
or tight, intending
to confuse her sight until,
perhaps, she dared to make
a try - to find her own
cupid in her own eye.

To such a scene, amongst
such possibilities -
the downright, matter of
fact determination
of ivy on the trees,
wriggling queerly under
the examination
of the glass, the steady
sunlit room, fluttered by
each martin as it made
its pass - to all of this
she might have deftly given

a lash, until there were
sequins in the air and
surreptitious cupids
glancing everywhere. They
pricked their wings. Their arrows
spun away with thinnest
silver chirruping. THey
were miraculous, picked
by her to be beyond
belief - believing them -
the lie she told to throw
the truth into relief.

Into the pure relief
of ordinary light.
But now she must have all
of this, compelled to see
by possibility
just what the glass finds real
enough to bend, jolted
by tilting shadows that
the martins send, seized by
the amorini, who,
being unreal, demand
her head for what they steal.

-R. F. Langley

I don't entirely understand it. But I do like it, a lot.
Also, this can be considered to be in affiliation with the Tuesday Poem initiative:

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That's incredible.

Except...ha. I first read "martins" as "martinis". One-tracked mind. And they say it's too early for booze. ;P

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