Orphan poems (11)

If it is possible to be irked by the non-publication of a poem, which is certainly to be very arrogant, maybe this one prompts such feelings. It wrote it in mid-2006, and I can’t find a home for it yet. It might be that the title is too fussy, too obviously ‘a title’. On the other hand, it’s as much about passport photos as Rasputin, and was sparked by trying to follow the absurdly complicated regulations for having your passport photo taken – regulations which must have boosted the takings of photo-booths no end.

Not close enough to the camera

Not close enough to the camera

In fact, thinking about it, it’s not about Rasputin at all. I guess that my propensity for including jokes in my poems, even if they are like cracker mottoes, might tell against it. But I think I will rescue this one for my next reading.






Rasputin’s Passport Photo

Don’t come too close (too far):
your background, Grigori
Yefimovich, is too

blurred, too busy, and your
mouth is as slack
as a husky’s tongue, lolling

too obviously. Your beard
is more than
34 millimetres. Please trim

accordingly, and temper
the messianic
glint of your steely eyes. At least

you’re not grinning. But part
the hanks of your hair,
and change

the frieze of your face.
You must show
no shadows. You must not

look as if you’ve been
dragged through
the Neva backwards.

Lower your right hand,
unless it is raised
for religious reasons,

and ensure (on your next
attempt) that you are not
shot by an amateur.


You can hear the poem here:


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