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.