The nightmare is that last straight into the camera –
Dice among dice, jounced in a jouncing cup.
Never any nearer, bouncing in a huddle, on the spot.
Struggling all together, glued in a clot.
The first dead cert I ever backed was Word
From The Owner’s Mouth. Week before
There was my jockey – ‘a day in the life of’ –
Starred in Picture Post. Who? Somewhere
In the nineteen forty seven
Strata of the British Museum.
He’s gone. He went
Even as I watched. And the horse’s name?
Gone with my money. It cartwheeled
Smack in front of me, over the first fence.
Left its jockey flat – killed – and galloped on
Long after the finish, in a drugged trance –
(Doncaster). One can’t bear to be groomed:
Arcs into shudders, chewing at a scream.
One rolls on the ground and flings hammers
Refusing to cross a stream,
Ending up shot. The stables – asylums –
Of these blue-blooded insane
Prefer the introverts. Here’s one. A razor-faced
Every known musical instrument,
The whole ensemble, packed
Into a top-heavy twangling half-ton
On the stilts of an insect.
They’re all dangerous to touch. It nearly takes off –
Just stays. Like a flying-saucer’s
Anti-gravity coil magnet, still space-radio-active,
Salvaged from the crash. It scares
Even itself. We stand, nervous. Metaphors
Fail the field of force.
The torque of vertigo. ‘A dark horse.’
Send Letters To:
London Review of Books,
28 Little Russell Street
London, WC1A 2HN
Please include name, address, and a telephone number.