Friday, April 23, 2004

The Will of all Wills was a Warwickshire Will....

And a handsome, cheerful fellow too, they say. Today is his birthday, his 440th by most accounts. Here's a sort of present--a silly little poem:

Present from Stratford

She took a train through the autumn smoke,
a scarf to her lips. She trod in the crowds
& the shrubbery-beds, drank tea, was cold.
She plucked up something from under a tree.

Clacked in a blue box tricked with stars:
a seed, a cone, its broken needles
dry like thorns, unlovely wooden
bud, a brittle rosemary burr.

Not whole as a stone, I thought, not old
as a stone, not perfect under my thumb.
Then, not dead as a stone, I thought.
Something ought to be sleeping inside--

this metaphor's too plain. It nests
on the shelf, a pine-bark egg on its bed
of pins. Sometimes I fetch it to smell.
Sometimes I'd like it inside my mouth.

-- Philip Sander

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