After dark she handed round
the confectioneryand the rustle of the papers
excited me.As well as the comforting
chocolate coloursthere were staring greens,
lumps of grainy yellowand white fondant homunculi,
whose feetwere the first items to be
bitten off.I would nibble my way up
through the body,thinking about the organs I’d
consumedand which had yet to come. The
head when reachedwas crunched between my
remorseless milk teeth.
Now there’s unwelcome knocking
at the doorand parents’ voices in the
social mode.No, I will not come home! This
is my home –from now on and forever. I
have left youand shall be colonising this
chaise longue,where Phyllis sits, warm thigh
pressed against mine,biting into dusted Turkish delightwith regular little ivory
teethand squeezing the pieces
against her palatewith a pink, unspeakably
If you are in Oxford or visiting the city soon, and haven’t yet seen the exhibition Where We Begin to Look. Landscape and Poetry, there is still time! Where We Begin to Look is a collaborative exhibition by the artist Zoe Benbow and the poet, Deryn Rees-Jones, and is presented by the Poetry Society and Small World Theatre, Ceredigion. It will be at the Glass Tank at Oxford Brookes until 5 November, and you can find out
more about it on the Brookes web site.
is copyright © Fergus Allen, 2010. It is reprinted from Before Troy by
permission of CB editions.
Fergus Allen is 92 years old. Educated in Ireland, he moved to
England during the Second World War and ended his professional career as First
Civil Service Commissioner. Following retirement he has published collections
with Faber and Dedalus Press as well as CBe. Writing from a lifetime of rich
experience, Fergus Allen offers poems of precision and fine observation,
stripped of illusion yet deeply human in their affections and glancing wit. The
confusions of abroad, of childhood and memory, of love and sex and identity,
are rendered in Before Troy with a bracing
clarity. You can hear Fergus Allen reading from his poems at the Poetry
CB editions publishes no more than six books a year, mainly poetry and
short fiction and including work in translation. Since 2008 its poetry titles
have twice won the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize and have been shortlisted
for both the Forward Prize and the Forward First Collection Prize three times.
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