A photopoem from James Sutherland-Smith

Young

The yarrow, the bulrush, the burdock
the long-stemmed wheatgrass, a single iris
leaning like one of the paparazzi
for an exclusive front page shot
line the path either side of a girl running
as though she might be dreaming she escapes
the applause of a crowd round the centre court
at Wimbledon or tiers of calculating eyes
intent on catwalks in Paris or Milan
or the fans held back by bodyguards
from the red carpet at an Oscar ceremony.

Ten years from now those long legs will turn heads
on the Nevsky Prospekt, in Harrods’
or the lobby of the George V hotel.
But now she runs because supper has been called
or to see a new litter of kittens
in a shoebox or Pappa has come home
from the city with jokes, chocolate,
some gloves Mama tries not to look pleased about
or a silly hat for her that she’ll pull faces under
and no thought for the future except that it’s a word
that belongs in school and a boring grammar lesson.

*James Sutherland-Smith: Poet,
born 1948, lives in Slovakia. Used to earn his living as an English
language learning projects consultant. Now annoys his wife and does a
bit of this and that to contribute to the household expenses. Writes
feuilletons for PN Review, the Bow-wow Shop and other poetry magazines. Would like Hugo Williams's spot on the TLS. His website www.jamessutherland-smith.co.uk
contains examples of his poetry and the very grumpy weblog of somebody who feels undervalued.

Photograph by *Shamil Khairov, Senior lecturer in Slavonic Languages at Glasgow University, taken in Northern Russia.

One comment

  1. Anonymous

    Melinda writes:
    Wonderful – both the poem and the photograph.

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