Cheshire Cat by Kenneth Allott

Tonight the rain sheets down. After an hour
It does not seem there can be any more;
And I am moved,
Stripped of whatever’s English for savoir-faire,
To tell you, where you are,
How you are loved,
And how your harm I mean if once believed.

Streakingly listening in a rain-darkened door
To roof and railing drip
Beaded like idiot’s trembling underlip,
And nervous as a hare;
By a sky deepening like a bruise
I suck the hollow tooth
Of absence, absence until the wet slates whirl:
A syllable would spoil
My choked rage at the between-us leagues of air.

Now the black houses lean
Peopling with your face
My loneliness;
And I mislay the minimum of phlegm
Which furnishes to time
Parodies of what I am
(Oh, scissors and wing-collars of routine)
For all-elastic Gobis of migraine
On a damned continent without a name.


Date: 1947

By: Kenneth Allott (1912-1973)

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