On its way to lace

A new poem by Craig Raine.

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I am flying at night.
Pins and needles
waiting in my iPhone.
Then the sadness of landing gear
swallowing the lump in its throat.
Dim the cabin lights.
My phone is dying.

Venice in blackface,
raining and gleaming.
The lagoon tonight
like patent leather dancing pumps.

A seagull’s umbrella feet.
Its irritable beak.
Each litter bin
a sarcastic cornucopia.

Trees on Sant’Elena.
Trees at Treviso.
The beauty of this dying,
the leaf on its way to lace.

See, the sick greens’ pallor.
Look, the slow release of colours,
pale lemons, sauternes,
cod liver oil capsules,
rusts, ground coffee beans,
lucozades, irn bru,
bright Colman’s mustard,
drab Dijon mustard,
Dover sole, freckles, keratoses,
the blush of old cricket balls,
the rouges of gout, sunsets,
bloods, brash burglar alarms,
lavender bruises, Fonseca port.

The leaves turn, they turn away also,
they turn from us, the leaves,
so that we shall know this once,
for once, the world we have
we have to lose.

Craig Raine’s latest book is “My Grandmother’s Glass Eye: a Look at Poetry” (Atlantic)

This article appears in the 10 August 2017 issue of the New Statesman, France’s new Napoleon

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