Orphan poems (16)

I am beginning to think I might be better at finding good ideas for poems than actually achieving them. Or that I should sit down and get a lot of stamped addressed envelopes in the post. I was pleased with what I’d done with ‘smatter’ here. But that’s not enough to save a poem from its place amongst the out-takes on my hard drive.

The Second Man

 He assists the butler by answering the door bell whenever the other is busy or occupied elsewhere – The Book of Etiquette, Lillian Eichler, 1921

I am the second man you see,
sometimes the first, if the butler
is nubbling the cook,
or practising the angle of his bow.

Otherwise, I stand with cramp feet
to delude the guests, my arse
artily clenched, and my mouth crowded
with sour-sweet teeth.

Wrought iron forged
my face. When housemaids jilt me,
you might hear my tears
smatter the parquet

like polished pear-drops,
or tips of icicle.
And as for my head, I
incline to think.


You can hear the poem here:


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