"Close Up"

This weaver
a sort of marionette,

her simple shuffle,
repetitive two-step,

pushing her slightly awkward strings
like someone closing a wide shallow drawer.


The nail file's
storm of pollen.

Pliable pink nail varnish,
a stroke of molten enamel.


An avalanche of pewter
bright at the point of a chisel.


Leather pared off,
alive like a growth,

a shoemaker's slow, sudden shoot
in time-lapse photography.


This saddle, solid,

as a boletus mushroom.
On the ground, a beagle.

As you lift it,
a Brancusi bird in flight

just after a wing-beat.
That something so

contrived - compare
the brassiere -

so impossible,
so frankly engineered,

should contrive to seem
so natural and so elegant . . .


the stock of a Purdey,

verdigris gathers:
grass juice round a cricket stud.


A flute,
Bauhaus at the mouthpiece,

the other end, a lollipop
of clasps and cluster,

of complication calmed,
enrobed in simple silver.


Cy Twombly's
rhubarb fool,

graffiti rescued,
accidents we make immortal.

This article first appeared in the 17 October 2011 issue of the New Statesman, This is plan B