Link to: Ancient and Now
Poems on this page
I’m a dog
a lost dog
a looking dog
dog that scents back over its shoulder to find
that it might have no master any more ?
ears flat to the neck
padding purposefully beside strangers
overtaking by degrees
columns of strangers
along the pavement of the five-o’clock street
beside the cyclist wheeling the bicycle by its saddle
beside the hangdog man with the worn, stuffed briefcase
beside the couple who pause briefly by the pizza-shop
and when before sunset ?
and nor do any of these gods about me,
eyes in ruining sunshine,
following thoughtless noses
to mats, to spouses and to suppers,
failing to scent tomorrow
in the stour of traffic
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From: ROCK IS WATER or A History of the Theories of Rain
Poems by Colin Donati
I am like that sad animal the gibbon in the zoo
dipping its fingers in its own sex and sniffing them
lain over a bale on its back, flat amongst tyres in its box,
lit by white bulbs on a drizzly day and gazed at
from behind thick plate glass in the crowded walk-way
by the smooth-faced murmurous-tongued cousins there
who pass in file hour upon hour and who I do my utmost
to pretend are harmless.
with my straw, two ramps, some rope and a hatch to the outdoors,
I am like it, yes and why? Is it because I’m not sure
that I care for my numen and I’m lonely and I make
shadow-shows that show my own kind terrorised
by sixty-foot gorillas or voracious escaped dinosaurs
and my highest dream is to lie with a partner
in the stink or our own bed? Can this be true?
Can this really be true? Can the mind heed
no higher goal?
The mind protests its shabby hopes against better visions
through establishment of sure connections such as
we are not animals when we engage in sex
our experience altogether more elevated and unique
than anything the gibbon undergoes with mates.
I have a salary, can drive a car, understand
the layout of a supermarket, answer phones
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The Construction of the Forth Railway Bridge 1882-1890
Knitting and riveting pinning and weaving, knitting and riveting pinning and weaving, building the girders out over the water; gangers in rivet-teams sweating at furnaces, wielding the rivet-tongs, hammering plates in place, hanging the arms of the great cantilever; decking the space with them over the water, complex equations for cross-beams in tension, joints in suspension, engaged with all weathers – wind blow the bridge-bays the bridge-bays distort with it, sun swing from south to west arms bend away from it till they’re braced rigid warping the measure; the bite of the ice air through jerkins of leather, a shower of rain adding weight to the structure already supporting chain, crane and timber stage, winch and hawser, furnace and hammer, the winds of the firth exerting their pressure on three growing galleons sailing the water; the struts that the jacks lift, the ties where no pin shears, the skewbacks through which all loads pass to the bridge-piers, building the girders out, building them further, the light through the structure that turns on each girder, each tubular tower, the ring of the worker, macramé of metal, tracery of shadows. The man with the camera slides other plates in place, times each exposure then snaps shut the wooden case, captures the moment, freezes the hammer.
from Rock is Water (Kettilonia, 2002)
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© Colin Donati. All Rights Reserved.