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By Roddy Lumsden

Into perplexity: as an itch chased round
an oxter or early man in the cave mouth
watching rain-drifts pour from beyond


his understanding. Whether to admire
the mere sensation, enough, or hold out
for sweeter ornament, vessels of wonder


born with that ur-charm of symmetry;
lovely ones we ache to prize and praise,
climb into and become because they try


our day-by-day significance: some of us
ugly and most of us plain, walked past
in the drowned streets: pearls of paste,


salted butter, secondary colors. They
drift unapproached, gazed never-selves,
blunt paragons of genetic industry. We


desire them but cannot want such order.
We stand, mouths open, and cannot help
stammering our secrets, nailed to water.

Read more about Roddy Lumsden and his poetry at the Poetry Foundation.


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