For Bedtime Horrors
Tell them the life-giving current
has been seized by a corrupting influence.
Tell them snow is falling on the coral reef.
Into their masks, bewildered divers weep.
Tell them oil slicks combust on eroded beaches.
Foreigners panic-sell and locals stop in wonder.
Tell them we will never again see cahows.
They have surrendered their breeding grounds.
Tell them cruise ships are for memories.
Tugboats and dockers sit idle.
Tell them, even if unfamiliar with wealth,
that banks are barricading their doors.
And insurers will not pay out. And hotel rooms are empty.
Tell them, if you can, of the island’s future.
Then tell them I am here, at the bottom of the garden.
And I am coiled.
– for Nora
Yours was the face I almost lived a lie for,
that might have brought about the 2.4,
not this sterile A4 annual report
about the daughter’s aptitude for sport,
Ted’s reunion and the dress you wore.
I want to know: did the dress allow
seductive développés and port de bras,
did sling-backs reveal triumphant arches,
were accountants left unconscious
and the husband damning Terpsichore?
But should I be content if my Odette
is happy to distract suburban courts?
Nibble canapés my swan, forget
this mincing prince who hoped we might be more.
Copyright © 2007 Paul Maddern