Landfall Desk poem
The Landfall Desk
Desk, your Landfall people segmented within the drawers,
your sides battered, knocked at by writers wanting to get out and into Print,
your body sawn in half and rejoined, your toes cut off,
You squat in the middle of the room
You don't dare to attack now with your sharp corners
the passing literary aspirants breathing their cherished syllables.
You malicious, magnificent-mileaged one-owner desk,
you were kind in your time,
used kindly, too,
were never at the mercy of a mad shifter of furniture
trained for the secondhand kill, bred among giraffe pianos
and minute waltzes, quite mad, mad among the mahogany and walnut.
I think I will keep you, malicious desk.
You refuse to stay tidy, you get stuck and you wobble on your cut legs
The edges of the wound around your middle
will never meet again; you are unbalanced, overweight.
I remember the day I took you in,
a Dunedin day of generous cloud
— no niggardly blowaway tufts in those journeying skies
pursuing their massive somewhere along a one–track wind from the mountains to the sea
towards the north, the Peninsula and beyond.
There was some suggestion that day, I remember, that I remove my front door to admit you.
It was not necessary. How agile you were, how accommodating, how fitting!
You were something to live up to.
Perhaps, after all, something I could never face –
too good, too clever, too correct.
Mind my reputation, you said, when I dropped the wrong word or touched you with a misplaced syllable.
It was later, I remember, that your corners began to attack me as I walked by you.
Once, during my absence, the occupants of the house dismembered you and hid you in the cellar until I returned.
I would never have known except for the white-faced literary person who beckoned me in the street one day
You can't guess what they did! Her horror was clear.
— What did they do?
— I don't know how to tell you.
— They took it to pieces. It was too big. The room couldn't take both the desk and the double bed.
I was calm. I knew.
— You mean, I said, The Landfall Desk?
I thought she was going to faint.
The Landfall Desk!
— How dreadful, I said, without meaning it. I was curious, though, about its battle with the double bed,
its assertion — There isn't room for both of us.
Eight-legged, a kind of spider secreting, outpouring your daily web,
a mad, crooked, crippled piece of furniture,
bathing in golden literary history,
in spite of all, you go with me, Landfall Desk, kept,
endured, burrowed in by the blossoming alphabet
in spite of all, in my shifting life, you go with me . . .