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Image by Caroline Forbes

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

Recordings

Peter Scupham Reading from his poems

1Parting

2The Nondescript

3Prehistories

4Four Fish

5The Gatehouse

6Song for Sophie

7Answers to Correspondents

8Cat’s Cradle

9When the Train Stops

10The Spanish Train

11Blackout

12Going Out, Lancasters

13Jacob's Ladder

14Under the Barrage

15V.E. Day

16Service

17The Web

18A Twist of Water

19Annunciations

20Monet's Garden

21Ragtime

22The Provisional Thing

23Divers

24Close

25The Key

26First Things, Last Things

27The Clock and the Orange

28Young Ghost

29Dancing Shoes

30From Dying: november 24th 1989

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

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

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

34From Dying: January 10th, 1990

35Watching the Perseids: Remembering the Dead

36Faces Come Thicker at Night

37Night Kitchen

38Leave the Door Open

Books by Peter Scupham