Marion McCready's 'Kitten and the Bricklayer's Cap'

The Kitten and the Brick-layer’s Cap 

After Allen Ginsberg’s The Brick-Layer’s Lunch Hour

It’s a dark rain that threatens 

an unlikely new-found womb.

It’s a dark rain that threatens

and yet the wall beckons,
the cellar nature of it luring the kitten.

He strokes the kitten

the way he strokes his chin.

A volley of clouds eclipses the sun,

the tree tops mouthing above him.

He takes off his red cap,

voiding the cradle of bones curling in his lap. 

The body of fur, part-child, part-cat,

huddles between the bloodied hue
of hat 
and the fat pulse of cloth and skin,

an unlikely new-found womb.

*Marion McCready lives in Dunoon, Argyll. Her poems have appeared in a variety of publication including The Edinburgh Review, Northwords Now and The Glasgow Herald. Calder Wood Press published her pamphlet collection
Vintage Sea earlier this year.

This poem was first published in the pamphlet Starry Rhymes (Read This Press)


  1. An unusual one from our Marion. Quite like it.

  2. I was very struck with the sophisticated sonic architecture of this poem on first reading it. In a poem this short the relationship between the assonantal sounds makes meaning resonate or not, depending on how they chime. The opening five lines read as if the poem could go in any direction; turn into a clunker or, as it does, a memorable one because of the subtle arranging of vowels into an understated yet powerful and classy poetic whole.
    Upon reaching the sixth line the way the complete unit of sense hanging in a simple four word unit, 'he strokes the kitten', signals that the direction of the text seems to be turning into a weak poem, but the enjabment to the next line wrongfooted me. And next I hear 'chin' chiming with 'sun' signalling that what on the surface seemed plain and simple, is in fact a sophisticated and complex working out in sound of an exercise that ended up with a decent poem.
    The stressed U vowel in 'luring', combined with the unsressed vowel in 'sun' and 'above', all conspire to exactly hide the obvious placement of 'hue' that leaves us with a pitch perfect ending on the word womb, and that chiming like Roadrunner as he heads over the cliff, a milisecond of upward silent resonance of the poetic gravity chiming in our heads.
    Great Stuff.
    Desmond Swords

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