Esprit d’escalier
The Poet stretches out his long legs, looks up from contemplating his elegant, old-fashioned brown shoes, addresses the creative writing class, his voice tuned to channel charm. We have hardly met in forty years since long-haired days under dreaming spires, but in a recent review he motioned me off his sacred patch, the poetry of… The post Esprit d’escalier appeared first on VoegelinView.

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The Poet stretches out his long legs,
looks up from contemplating
his elegant, old-fashioned brown shoes,
addresses the creative writing class,
his voice tuned to channel charm.
We have hardly met in forty years
since long-haired days under dreaming spires,
but in a recent review
he motioned me off his sacred patch,
the poetry of the First World War,
in no uncertain terms. Now
a no man’s land widens between us,
mined with inhibition, self-regard.
No way to leave our trenches,
share a joke, a smoke, sing ‘Silent Night’.
The past crumbles, memory shrapnel.
One grenade held in reserve
is knowing that at a party once
he said to a friend’s wife, ‘I put it
to you your cunt is on fire
for me’ – a line he nicked from a novel
by Jonathan Coe. Meanwhile charm smiles;
the students, impressed, lean in.
Those elegant, old-fashioned brown shoes.

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