“At the 100th Anniversary of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association at the Royal Geographical Society” by Ernest Hilbert in the New Issue of Southwest Review
by Ernest Hilbert on 01/03/13 at 9:15 am
Please consider subscribing to the Southwest Review, one of the nation’s most prestigious literary journals. To prime the pump, I have four free copies to give away to anyone who might like to have one. Please just contact me through the “contact” page here on E-Verse.
I’ve also taken a moment to record the poem in my best post-headcold gravel voice. Enjoy!
Black cabs slow to ranks before Lowther Lodge.
Lord Markham appears to doze, looks drowsily
From his marble recess to Bayswater
And the Serpentine, undaunted, ignored.
Jagger’s bronze Shackleton is thick-bundled.
He looms heavily like an armored saint.
He seems to squint for snow, yearn for blizzards,
So he might again prove himself helpful.
A woman, tipsy, snags her blue silk gown
In the cab’s door as her husband fumbles
With his defiant tie. With others, they crunch
Onto the interior courtyard’s gravel.
The smiling chancellor, with glinting gold
Shard of champagne aloft in his raised hand,
Calls for silence, and affable shushes spread
Like the last steam from an ancient engine.
An award is presented, and a small
Bespectacled man blushes, ever redder,
As he attempts to address the slipping crowd
From the top of the stairs. He coughs. Then blinks.
His voice ebbs in the breeze. Cell phones chirp.
Airliners roar overhead. Pigeons coo.
Buses rasp down Kensington Gore. Whispers
Float up, and sports cars honk brash hunting horns.
His lips move for a while. He gestures dreamily
With his silver prize, his wife looking on,
And the sun burns through marble clouds,
Pools the rims of his glasses with mercury.