Saturday, December 20, 2008

Poems about light hitting desks

Seems to be a lot of angst around the bloggy sphere at the moment re poems about light hitting a desk. Particularly after a certain Mr Goldsmith said they were the most dreadful sorts of poems (to read, I suppose).


What is it about a desk in particular, and the light that reflects from said desk, that castigates a poem about it into the outer realms of despicability? Call me a crusty old Quietist (I won't be hurt), but if you can't pull off a desk-light poem then you can't be much of a poet, can you.

Am I a poet? Rather than force others to acknowledge my poethood as an act of faith, I'll let you both judge for yourselves. Below, two poems about desks and light, written waybackwhen, before people told me that writing such poems was Just Not Very Cool, You Know ...


In an island of hard-polished desk
squats the stump of a candle, wax spat
on the green, chipped dish. Once
it was tall, hard: a column of opportunity.
The flame has stroked too often, the bright wick
is aged too soon. The sun is guttering
and my windows are smeared.

There is no clock on my wall
to tick me to grey. I am sat before a mirror
to watch my face fade to patterns
in reflected walls. When the sun surrenders,
I am gone: un-mirrored, I cannot be.

Somebody stole the moon, leaving half
a milky mug-stain where once the silver tureen
overflowed. Now that I am not human, I can smile, creasing
what was once a face. I do not know
who stole the moon, but they stole my clock
and my candle too.

Had enough yet? No? Here's the other one:


The desk sits square on the side of the room.
Touch polished panels meld with the dusk.
Hard drawers grin half-shut
and gabbled papers stray, confused
between cups and pens edging
to cascade on the floor.
Midway, brass handles spit brass reflections
across the bed - unmade -
towards the door, unlocked.

Behind the desk stands the oval mirror,
baroque curves and tainted glass.
In the mirror of the desk, papers are stacked.
Pens line the rim of the cup
in stout regiments, headless stalks.
In the mirror of the room, curtains are hung,
the floor is swept, carpet tufts are spright.
The bed is made, the door is locked
and I am not here.

I think everyone should write a poem about light hitting a desk, as a Celebration of Crimbotide. On your marks; get set ...

1 comment:

  1. I must have missed all the stuff about light and desks. Where is it?

    Anyway, I enjoyed your poems, particularly 'Candle'.