When nothing else works: not

the solemn pageant of English kings
and their bright minutiae - the cakes,
the jewels, the horse, the poker;

nor the flowers of the Western Canon,
from Dante to Beckett, with that mysterious
drought in the fifteenth century;

nor even the old reliable,
the putting into alphabetical
order of American states,

the characters of Shakespeare,
or footballers of the 1960s
(Armstrong, Brabrook, Cohen, Dougan ...);

I have lost myself in driving round
a genteel San Francisco,
dapper in a trilby, trailing

Madeleine Elster in her haunted
peregrinations from Nob Hill
to the unquiet grave of Carlotta Valdes

and I have woken from those dreams
of falling for another sweet McGuffin.


David Callin

If you have any thoughts about this poem,  David Callin  would be pleased to hear them