My Allegory

Mad as honey, jinking in and out of the traffic
where Manor Road and Stamford Hill meet up,
a boy holds up a slab of broken mirror
in front of him, walking blind while staring back.

It's a sure-fire metaphor for something, the very image
you'd spend a fortnight gasping for - an allegory
for the collapse of a community which once
left doors unlocked and meat pies cooling on sills.

Perhaps. Or for the extinction of elaborate species,
for the wayward progress of genetic engineering,
for the hotbed introspection of the artist,
for saints, fizzled to ciphers, who left us praying.

Or an allegory for the thoughts which swell my head
when you take my hand in the lane behind the sweet shop.
That is, if metaphors for thoughts are still allowed
on this plundered and squandered nosebag of a planet.

Roddy Lumsden

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