Arthur Broomfield

History is a living thing

This is how it’ll begin :
A snapshot in a Teutonic tabloid,
Viennese maybe,
a forgotten street league final,
the goalie at full stretch
snatches the ball off the boot
of the inrushing striker.

A few weeks later in The Guardian
Weekend –review,
he’s in summery casuals,
having the crack
with a few art conscious pals.

The tortured artist
will be reappraised
by a panel of vorticists
on Radio 4.
Still lives, newly unearthed
in a Jewish collector’s horde
it will be said,
concentrate awareness
on his avant garde verve.

You know he banned
the boiling of live lobsters ?
When word of the act of kindness
makes the cookery columns
of better type magazines
Dublin 4  Adolfins,
such will be their outrage,
will threaten closures
in the seafood sector.

Evidence of escaping gas
will debunk the myth of the camps.
The truth is his orders had them built,
it will be claimed,
to save you from angry investors.

Then we’ll get to see the wedding photo’s.
Exclusives in ‘Hello’ will hug
the popcultcon with headlines
like ‘Adolf and Eva’s dreams for a better world’
and “I want two children and an electric grill’ demands the radiant bride.”

The world will warm to the couple.
Will the abyss return your gaze ?
Who, O Lord, will save your people ?


For A.B..

And then,
after the last descent into alcohol
I’ll go to your door,
I’ll shuffle down the step  stones, your design,
through the beds where in summer
Arum Lilies and Gladioli disguise
the dun earth
and for the bleak days leave
on your doorstep
Snowdrops, gathered that morning,
and moist with dew.

Dr Arthur Broomfield is a Beckett scholar and a poet. He is the author of The Empty Too : language and philosophy in the works of Samuel Beckett (Cambridge Scholars’ Publishing), The Poetry Reading at Semple Stadium (2011 Lapwing) and When the Dust Settles (1993 International University Press).  


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