Treasure Island

Francis Scarfe

(1911-1986 / South Shields, England)

The Merry Window


The alabaster legs of the lonely woman
hang from the window like white ensigns
out of the laughing window like false teeth
sheets, flagstaffs, telescopes, rolls of music,
or you would say beheaded necks of swans
or the electric horns of factories
where foreign dreams are nightly fabricated.

Yearning for her coal once heaved in the seam
for her the sewers shrieked their way through London
and pigeons ate each other in the air.

But the deserted lady is frozen to the marrow
her heart has floated into her left leg
and her forked tongue asks in three languages
for a bassoon, a pyramid, and an egg.

All the white birds have flown out of her lips
the Polar Bear has eaten her left breast
her eyes are covered with yellow webs of dust,
in fact she is what a Saint would call abandoned
since even her own self has forgotten her.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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