POEM : MY TRUE LOVE IS AT THE GATE

LYRIC : STUPID SONGS

FROM 'BELL CANTOS'

MARK GULLICK

1st August, 2020

‘Poetry is partly an exercise in discovering one’s relationship with language, the most marvellous free gift life presents to us, and one to be cherished. What Nietzsche termed ‘the spirit of music’ always sits behind words, hence the addition of song lyrics here, hopefully to complement the poetry proper. Muse, music; the two dance hand in hand’.

From Introduction: The Lady of Shalott’s Mirror



MY TRUE LOVE IS AT THE GATE


Goose-quill, tallow and taper.

The movement from circle to square.

Serpentine tincture, a downy black swan

Make me think of my true love’s hair.


Bell-jar, alembic and calces.

Fox ribs and a peacock’s thighs.

The eyes of a doll from Odessa’s main square

Make me think of my true love’s eyes.


A rat that was drownded in aspic.

An anti-macassar in lace.

A Balinese death-mask in copper and tulle

Make me think of my true love’s face.


A fingernail torn from a houri.

A thimble of scorpion bait.

A vial of blood from a dropsical child.

Oh, my true love is here at the gate.

Now my true love is here at the gate.




STUPID SONGS


Remember when you drove off that day


On our only holiday?


I don’t think anybody saw you.


You left unheard and you left unseen,


The abdication of a drama queen.


Your own road movie lay before you.


And you don’t hit a town like this every day.


You can’t just stop for breakfast


In your stolen car.


These places make us what we are.


Remember when a boy sketched your smile


Out along the Golden Mile?


I could almost be happy


On days like those.


Remember when the railways broke down?


Trapped for three days in your town.


A name by any name is a rose.


But you’ve never seen a town like this one.


Cobwebs on the barracks fence


And old men in the park.


Nothing happens after dark.


I could have called you things,


All of the stupid things


In all the stupid songs


That you’ve ever heard,


With my clever way with words.


Remember when we had a secret place?


You wiped that smile off my face.


I should have known.


We were out there on our own.


Remember when we had a secret place?


Wipe that smile off your face.


I should have known.


Textbook couple, overdue loan.


I remember when you drove off that day,


Though I wanted you to stay,


And I remember what you said to me.


You said, “Imagine us 20 years from now.


Just doesn’t seem right somehow”.


You left a postcard of Spain,


A bottle of rain,


And a book about Monroe and the CIA.


And if you ever hit a town like this one again,


Just keep driving through.


There might not be someone like me,


But I hate to think


And it worries me there might be.


I could have called you things,


All of the stupid things


In all the stupid songs


That you’ve ever heard,


On the radio at work.




Bell Cantos by Mark Gullick can be purchased here https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08CHJ9SL7?pf_rd_r=WEAHT9QSCNKYRC21F4SD&pf_rd_p=e632fea2-678f-4848-9a97-bcecda59cb4e

Online Magazine of Ideas | British Intelligence | The Life of the Mind | Politics and Arts

©2019 by British Intelligence. Proudly created with Wix.com