Nerval paraded the gardens of the Palais-Royal with a lobster on a pale blue ribbon

Limetrees bob like sponges in the gloom.
The blue blue benthic air rolls cold but kind.
The beds blip mud. A billow-brine perfume
balms the brain and buoys the squally mind.

Cold is safe. Gee-up, Aegisthus. Click.
Click. Damask castanets – click-clack –
and boxing roses. Darling, scuttle quick,
the sky is spitting and the moon is black.

Tell me, sweetie, while we inch along
the shrubbery, what happens when the sea
is on your head, and how the mermaids' song
makes stars; and all your liquid history.

Don't let me fall to pieces. Cold and slow,
Aegisthus dear, our brains won't drift away.
Good evening, various Friends and Fish. We know
that life is cold and dark and deep. Let's pray.

O mighty Tefrut, be with us tonight.
Don't let me be mad. Please hold my hand
and guide my trip and toddle to the light
of morning, and the nearly-promised land.

Limetrees bob like sponges in the dark,
whose high-tide fills the city. Birds breathe quick
as ripples. Little heartbeats shake the park.
Something spilled shines on the gravel. Click.

John Gallas was born in Wellington and brought up in Richmond and St Arnaud, but is at present in Coalville, Leicestershire. He has had eight collections published by Carcanet Press, the most recent of which was 40 Lies, which came out in 2010, and his ninth collection Fresh Air & The Story of Molecule is due out from Carcanet in 2011. He works for the Leicestershire Behaviour Support Team in county schools.

Poem source details >



Carcanet Press author page
John Gallas Poetry