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Wild Bill Balding

6943

(On seeing Umberto Boccioni's 1911 painting 'States of Mind-The Farewells')

Couples kiss in khaki shadows,
cascading into carriages' cavernous mouths.
A ribbon of fire is laid on the platform
as the train rolls ominously through,
a juggernaut of lamps and numbers,
panting a fog to embrace and envelop
those who thought they were spectators.
Telegraph wires, above it all,
pass the train from section to section,
oblivious to the shadows' final destination,
though the fire, fog and frenzy
hint at the hell to come.

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The crows, he said,

would roost each night in the middle one
of the three tall trees at my garden's end,
every night the flock of crows,
every night the middle tree,

except the once,
just the once,
the only night they did not come,
the very night a German bomb
hung-up, dropped late, and hit the tree.

The crows, he said,

were back next night in the left-hand tree,
where crows have roosted sixty years,
every night the flock of crows,
every night the left-hand tree,

except tonight,
except tonight,

[...] Read more

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From a painting by Hans Holbein: Portrait of Anna Meyer (c.1526)

What have they done to you, Anna Meyer?

Dispirited eyes focus on the floor.
Cloth carapace binds your torso
as securely as the armour it resembles.
Are they - or you - scared of your body,
of your budding maturity?

Must a Burgomeister's daughter
live out the lie
that she is not a woman in the making?

Should a Burgomeister's daughter
be kept in wraps until her marriage,
when the armour is removed
but the shell remains?

Does the Burgomeister's daughter
get to play like other children,
or is she already locked into

[...] Read more

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Shitty Kitty City

There's a lobby by my study where my visitors may enter
which, since we got the kittens, has a dirtbox at the centre.
They're still too young to go outside, that's why I ask for pity:
they've turned my quiet oasis into Shitty Kitty City.
Pity, pity, isn't it a pity?
They've turned my quiet oasis into Shitty Kitty City.

Their mother trained them very well to go into the tray.
They do their stuff and cover it - that's fair enough, you say;
but litter gets flicked everywhere, so underfoot is gritty:
you need your wellies on indoors for Shitty Kitty City.
Pity, pity, isn't it a pity?
You need your wellies on indoors for Shitty Kitty City.

Mind the crap... Mind the crap... Stand clear of the turds, please.

I scoop the jobbies off the floor: the cats think I collect 'em,
so each one keeps on squeezing me a present from its rectum.
There's steaming heaps all over, and it isn't smelling pretty -
it's best to wear a gasmask when in Shitty Kitty City.

[...] Read more

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