The Nondescript

The Nondescript

I am plural. My intents are manifold:
I see through many eyes. I am fabulous.

I assimilate the suffering of monkeys:
Tiger and musk-ox are at my disposal.

My ritual is to swallow a pale meat
Prepared by my ignorant left hand.

It is my child's play to untie a frog,
Humble further the worm and dogfish.

When I comb the slow pond,
I shake out a scurf of tarnished silver;

When I steer the long ship to the stones,
A brown sickness laps at the cliff's foot.

Shreds of fur cling to my metalled roads,
Old plasters seeping a little blood.

I dress and powder the wide fields:
They undergo my purgatorial fires.

Come with me. I will shake the sky
And watch the ripe birds tumble.

It requires many deaths to ease
The deep cancer in my marrowbones.

I have prepared a stone inheritance.
It flourishes beneath my fertile tears.


from Night Watch (Anvil, 1999), copyright © Peter Scupham 1999, used by permission of the author

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1Parting

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2The Nondescript

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3Prehistories

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4Four Fish

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5The Gatehouse

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6Song for Sophie

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7Answers to Correspondents

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8Cat’s Cradle

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9When the Train Stops

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10The Spanish Train

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11Blackout

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12Going Out, Lancasters

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13Jacob's Ladder

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14Under the Barrage

15V.E. Day

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16Service

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17The Web

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18A Twist of Water

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19Annunciations

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20Monet's Garden

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21Ragtime

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22The Provisional Thing

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23Divers

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24Close

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25The Key

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26First Things, Last Things

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27The Clock and the Orange

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28Young Ghost

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29Dancing Shoes

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30From Dying: november 24th 1989

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31From Dying: 'I have lived in a world which makes intelligible certain older worlds...'

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32From Dying: 'Look in the next room...'

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33From Dying: 'Who do you say you are?'

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34From Dying: January 10th, 1990

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35Watching the Perseids: Remembering the Dead

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36Faces Come Thicker at Night

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37Night Kitchen

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38Leave the Door Open

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Books by Peter Scupham