This week our Friday Poem is from Rosie Shepperd’s tantalising debut, The Man at the Corner Table. You can hear Rosie read from this collection live on National Poetry Day, 6 October, at Berkhamsted Waterstones alongside Caroline Smith and Graham Clifford.
The Man at the Corner Table crackles with the unexpected. The voice is one of urban sophistication; a merciless charm that teases and tempts us with sensual evocations of food and place. The reader is surprised with tastes, scents, colours and textures. There is a winning insistence on detail offered with an irony that blends into satire.
Savoy Hotel, London
Those nights downstairs at the American Bar;
it’s not just the chairs that show gilt in the telling.
Back then we were almost quite something.
You and London were lean;
your eyes, a fraction off-centre as you
struggled not to say,
We have this connection. My God.
And not just your hand.
My role in this mellow
drama was to shift that arse
you loved to chase and twitch my best side
close to the oh-so-Maraschinos.
Too long ago, they were fruit in a tree.
I guess they were something for me
to play with; the pretence
we were ever friends was just
a way to simulate sharing.
30:70 and I never found out
who made the best bet
but I do know that’s the wrong word.
Early is just another kind of late and
anyway, you were always
there each night, every night. There’s
no fool like a blind
fool; thank God I didn’t see the edge
till I was over and out
the other side.
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