Francis Scarfe

(1911-1986 / South Shields, England)

Ode in Honour


Evening is part of the jig-saw truth of her,
ply-wood ply-flesh, her insolent reply
blinding the ace with a straight shot to centre,
the woman's a delicate devil in twenty places
blander and blonder, tinder tenderly
setting the smiles on fire in men's faces.

On any evening gets you ready for dark
swathes and saves you for the magic carpet
spirits you anywhere anytime anyhow
over the bridges the tunnels the hills the foothills
the pools lakes oceans cataracts crystal floes
the mountains and fountains the antique windows of space,
the deserts orchards vineyards milky ways,
over pontoons and the silting tracks of moons
over the decks and the docks where the clocks
chime, anywhere anytime, anyhow, any fresh place.

Anywhere where winds blow and babies grow
where poor men wait for money in a row
where magnates buy and sell your heaven and hell,
anyhow whether the storm runs over the roof
or hollow tooth aches or gangrene takes the soul,
anytime when the sun splutters and throws shrapnel
between the legs of dead men and mad lovers,
she will be there to hold you by the cuff
to give you all her stock of luck or love.

With
two round lips and two round eyes
and two round ears and two round palms
and two round arms and two round thighs,
any child, any girl, any woman, any surprise.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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