Poetry / Poets / Writers / Writing

Lady Larousse by Lise Colas

Cover damsel scattering seeds of

dandy-clock in one sweet blow is

unaware of thrills and spills as

wearied spine becomes unbound

and gutter drifts on harp of ropes

in dare to bare her unsewn hopes.

Furry luxe accrued in ribbon tuck

slyly supplement a doreur’s feast

in whorl of emboss on fleur-de-lys–

so whet your finger and tool along

her purblind grooves bone-folded

into buckrum and spread her open at will

upon the brassy eagle’s neck and

let her dazzle from that grim pulpit.

Try not to lean awry or heavy pet,

fear not for damsel’s distressed state–

but tarry to admire on recto page,

under glassine pall –a little rucked in

places but still intact– her vibrant beauty.

She thinks of you as one mortally

braille-punched by orthographic flaw

and your hapless strokes on every

bumped ending are quite enough

to bore the pants off the italics.

Before you put the damsel back

on that high shelf where she belongs,

pray remove from her brittle breast

that old billet-doux in purple ink,

that speaks of a first love now extinct…

No one should have to read that.

This poem is inspired by a 1917 edition of a Petit Larousse (illustrated dictionary/encyclopedia) that the poet’s late father bought at a ‘bouquiniste’ stall in Paris. Lise Colas lives in Hove on the south coast of England and started writing poetry seriously last year. She used to be librarian/archivist at Punch Magazine. She has a BA (Hons) in Fine Art and has become addicted to life drawing. Her drawings and other sketches can be seen on tumblr at goodtemperedpencil.tumblr.com.


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