Wednesday, February 02, 2005

old poem reworked: Harley Street Scene

Harley Street Scene

Now the sun is come
Out into a cold world
Casting shadow
More blue more cold,
Deepening its grip on
The pavement.
It reaches up between the
Buildings and we soak it
Up like sponge
We plunge our beings
Into the light to rest the
Blackest form:
The dark quarter of
Despair.

And now the Sun has come
With the smell of bleach and
The White smoke of White
Cigarettes.
The shadows steeped in clouds of
Perfume of
Worried women pacing
In Fur coats sunglasses eye patch

High heels and crutch.
Glamorous up to the last.

Babies and children
Worried walking
We are the sad soldiers
Bastions of the insane
Inner worlds
As we step in square
Patterns, mumbling before
Great Glossy Doors.

A thousand languages
In the sunshine that falls
Relentlessly picking out the
Gold cufflinks, the shimmer of
Stethoscope the bone
Shining through Skin.

Between the buildings the
Sun has come,
Flooding tiny ancient
Detail, the shine of tiles
That face nowhere, the
Beautiful internal
World: the part
They cannot touch.

The Soul that Swims Free...

3 comments:

Edward Carvalho said...

There are some really interesting things going on here. I enjoyed the idea of the sun "deepening its grip on the morning pavement." That's a strong image and has a very urban, riot police feel - at least that's what it conjured in that combination.

Suggestions: I would remove the use of the word cold in its second appearance in the first stanza and cut the line with "more blue," - it's just a personal thing with me on seeing strong words used too close together - dampens effect.
"Buildings and we soak it
Up like sponge" - how about "we turn to water in a sponge" - something along those lines - it's a little less literal. I love the sound of sponge / plunge. Too cool.

Also, how about changing bleach to chlorine in the second stanza and cigarettes to tobacco? I was just thinking in terms of sound and the pattern of long vowels. I'm torn on changing bleach because I like the word.

Imaginative as always - I always appreciate that element in your work - filled with surprise and invention. Great stuff.

Edward Carvalho said...

I went back and re-read this again - these lines just defy description (in a good way)

"High heels and crutch.
Glamorous up to the last."

and this entire stanza - serious flow going on here:

"A thousand languages
In the sunshine that falls
Relentlessly picking out the
Gold cufflinks, the shimmer of
Stethoscope the bone
Shining through Skin."

Wow - I feel like I've been punched in the face (in a good way.)

SiRen65 said...

The "cold" thing is somethin I will have to think about...it's interestng that the poem conjured up images of riot police or you...Harley Street, incase you were not aware is like the London equivalent of the Longwood Medical Area, only it's Victorian style..two streets (Wimpole and Harley) lined with doctor's offices and clinics with the London Clinic at the end. All of them in victorian brick and stone buidings. Harrley and Wimpole Street are near to Marble Arch and Edgeware Road where there is a really enormous middle Eastern population. THe richest members of which, plus west african ladies in amazing colours and random people from all over europe, are to be seen, when ill, at the london clinic, or outside it. Also celebrities. It's a very strange place. I want to keep the sponge thing the way it is because I need the "us" to be stationary and the shadow to be moving...being drawn up into "us". The Chlorine thing is something I will consider, definitely, but the white smoke of white cigarettes is kind of important...it has to be cigarettes and they have to be the long kind that are totally poliched looking and their whiteness in the sun is somehwat alarming. I really appreciate all your feedback...I will keep looking and changing here.