Tag Archives: david canning

Lazarus’ Lament

DAVID CANNING

 

I thought it would be like passing through a doorway;

it’s more like entering a corridor lined with locked doors.

 

I feared it could be a void, black, a hole down which to fall;

really it’s white like snow beneath your feet, melting.

 

I believed it might be like setting out on a journey;

it’s actually like missing your last train home.

 

I hoped I would meet up with friends and loved-ones;

it’s more like arriving at a party after everyone has gone.

 

It’s not a land awaiting discovery, but an overcrowded track,

rutted and chewed by the dog-weary feet of travellers.

 

We call it the closing of a chapter, the turning of a page,

but it’s a book in which the last words are missing, unwritten.

 

It’s coming back to a house occupied by clocks,

where there’s still washing up to be done, memories

 

lie unswept on the mantle, ash gathers in the grate

and the edge of your cup still wears the red lips of your smile.

 

 

‘Lazarus’ lament’ received a Special Mention in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (May 2017)

A Souq in Damascus

David Canning

 

Take a good look around, feel the quality,

it’s the best I have but it all must go,

I need two thousand dollars for the journey:

I’ll try for Berlin, it’s easier there,

I have family, my cousin is a doctor;

yes, I’m willing to talk about the prices.

 

There are some bone china plates with a fine, gold rim

that would add a little glitz to any formal affair,

and a book of insightful dinner party questionnaires

as used by Ivanka Trump, an elegant tray

adorned with flowers and hummingbirds

on which you could serve coffee, dark and sweet;

 

there’s a fruit bowl in Italian marble,

blemished just a little from where something went bad,

four pillows tasselled with the finest gold braid,

bearing only the slightest of burns, my wife’s

dining table with the splintered leg

from where the ceiling caved in;

 

this rug is Persian, it belonged to my mother,

I removed most of the stains,

a full-length mirror in which to admire oneself,

frame of sterling silver, broken below the neck,

an executive chair and ottoman in kid skin,

just a few small holes in its back.

 

Please take a look around, feel the quality,

it’s all I have and it all must go,

I need two thousand dollars for the journey:

I like the idea of London, they say it’s better there,

I have family, my wife’s cousin is a teacher,

yes, I’m willing to talk about prices.

 

A Souq in Damascus” won the first prize, Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (May 2017)