of American poetry, or hearing Jeremy Prynne as he paced the floor, allowing us all to share Aristeas’ vision of nomadic tribes and their purity we all believed in – at least as he spoke of it. Less innocent intoxications: London days, floating in wanton drift away from home,
listening at Better Books or drinking in pubs on Charing Cross Road with Andrew Crozier – beautiful boy, and effortless lyric poet – the litter of whose lines aroused my own. Long gone, those days. And now, my bushy hair. I go to buy a woolly hat against the cold and a glamorous wig from Notting Hill. Once there, I stare through the glass window at shelves of plaster dollies with tiny features, each face as splendidly null as Tennyson’s Maud. Even before entering I hate them all. I refuse to think beyond the months of treatment to come.
A curly white fur now covers my head. Some like it. I’m not sure, though I’ve junked the wig, and today coming back from the hospital in sunshine through Regents Park, I watched the branches of bare trees catch November gold and was suffused with extravagant happiness.
4 the clinic, memory: new and selected poems
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