About the poet
R. F. Langley (1938-2011), was not a prolific poet, but his work was noticed as long ago as 1979...
Blues for Titania
Blues for Titania
The beetle runs into the future. He takes
to his heels in an action so frantic its
flicker seems to possess the slowness of deep
water. He has been green. He will be so yet.
His memory ripples emeralds. The wasp
takes it easy. She unpicks her fabric of
yellow and black, which slips from her fingers to
land in the past, loop-holed, lacy, tossed off on
the wing. The beetle is needled right through on
one string. He peels a strip as he packs a shelf.
He is thrilling the grass, and whatever it
means, it is radiantly green like himself Thus
he will invest again and again in that
same flashy suit. The wasp has forgotten her
costume, but proves herself wise to the ways of
the sun, which are pat on her back. She drops a
curtsy, blows a kiss, and somersaults over
the beetle's attack. Lost moments swill round in
the shallows, until they can stick there and stack.
The beetle swears it's a set-up job. Follow
your mouth. Swallow tomorrow. Borrow and bet.
Rivet your eyes on the road, and do what you
said. You run through the beetles you have been, and
insist there are more of the same up ahead.
The wasp says goodbye to those she has never
met. She swirls down to just touch the track, so that
she definitely indicates her shadow,
a generous fellow, who has come on his
own, to join in. He's an item. And now he's
close kin. She gives him a hug. Then that's her in
mid-air and she's left him. He's a scoundrel, who
dodges about and grows dim. Neglected. The
necklace has snapped. Scramble for beads. Some of them
still roll and sparkle, prickling the gorse and the
stamens of the bittersweet. This will be the
best place for muttering nonsense. We could meet
anywhere in the wood. Tired in the hawthorn
brake. Tricked by the thick vegetation. Gutted.
A snatch at the clasp and a curse as our prayers
scatter. One of them comes to a stop by a
dazzling white stone. Others tag darker places.
So be it. Snipe lie near small pools, to hide in
their glare. Purple orchids are smuts in the dusk..
A wasp is humming as it investigates
the gravelly foreground, where no gods squat, but
someone pictured an overturned goblet. The
stub of a tree with a kingfisher on it.
Cybele carefully holds up a quince. Now
specialist theatres are opening all
along the hedge. Sparrows adopt passionate
poses in each of them. Detail is so sharp
and so minute that the total form suggests
infinity. Everything. Wincing. Oh, but
thereby, it seems to me, there is infinite
loneliness. Such tons of shingle. If I find
my feet in it, I will walk up and down and
sing, that they shall hear that I am not afraid.
The beetle straightens his jacket to confirm
an initial conception. After all there
are not many cores. The car doors slam behind
his shoulders and he pulls away into the
best, fast synthesis that there is, blazing down
the mid-line, the Roman Street, his heart in his
horn. The wasps and moths and feathers are riff-raff
off the verge. Stuff for his buffet. And isn't
Isis Demeter? No mysteries in here,
It's me, hands on the wheel, and capable of
brilliant wristy brushwork, if I rouse out
my conceit across the blur of foliage.
But. Who knows what monsters were revered by the
Egyptians? We must not boast or palter. Don't
rush the sense, or stagger if it's true. Ask me
not what. The duke has dined. Three layers of the
lapis, mixed with white lead. The last translucent
glaze, and no golden scumble. Cool and intense.
Guaranteed to be the bluest of the blue.
from Twine (Landfill Press, 2004), copyright © R. F. Langley 2004, used by permission of the author
R F Langley Reading from his Poems