National Poetry Day, it is. I thought I’d give air, finally, to a thing I wrote a quarter of a century ago (me, now tamping tobacco into my pipe). March 1991 to be precise. Enough that the piece has stayed with me, a kind of beneficial earworm, the sort that ferries you back to sleep when you shouldn’t be awake. I wrote it on a boat on the South China Sea (draws again on pipe), giddy at so much that was happening, and had happened; and picking up a mental melody about the colour of a cardigan of a student in my class. Somehow, funnily, it seems to want a soft Scots accent. And it’s more trouble to be written than to speak.
In Hong Kong is Celadon
In Hong Kong is celadon and greens and
blues commune to prove I plot what I’ve got
and what was what about a time and place
and cardigans milestone my way. Leaving
me proud for once of being a sponge, dizzily
aware that somewhere, in a shop, ware is
weighed, blind respect paid to a decision
a girlfriend made about colorism.
This season, Easter, April, petrol and
kingfisher banana the walls of malls
and vanillas of girlskin curves deflect
a billboard quiet, without zeal, gazzumping
an Armani kiss. Pills, windowsills,
buckets and vases and rust and disgust
at our kitchen’s poverty blue, as if
we’d just got rich – all, I don’t pretend,
I do, I understand, what only an idiot
wouldn’t know, here, all life is drawn
from the wardrobe of a student.