Fancy this in October, the last
Mosquito of summer left buzzing alone,
Its last fling in my room on the sixth floor
Of a tower block hotel; marooned like one
In the seventh decade with only the past
To look forward to, as the one sure
Topic he can buzz round with some old chum.
‘I had a good bloody summer,’ it seems to say,
‘With waiter and bellman, and that prim peach
Who keeps the consultant’s books across the way.’
And for one last sally it swoops and bites my thumb.
So I bite mine back at it, and reach
For a folded newspaper; all the same aware
How much I resemble it, my own small spites
And hopeless needs reduced to the last fling
Of one who doles out charm in sexless bites
To check-out girls and bank clerks as if to swear,
‘Oh man, I buzz and suck like anything!’
by Alan Brownjohn
‘Mosquito’ is copyright © Alan Brownjohn, 2011. It is reprinted from The Saner Places: Selected Poems by permission of Enitharmon Press.
Notes from Enitharmon:
Drawing on six decades of work, this new selection charts Alan Brownjohn‘s idiosyncratic take on the issues for which his poetry is known – love (and sex), time (and mortality) and our ecological and cultural environment (threatened and abused).
Brownjohn was born in London in 1931 and was educated at Merton College, Oxford. He worked as a schoolteacher between 1957 and 1965 and lectured at Battersea College of Education and South Bank Polytechnic until he left to become a full-time freelance writer in 1979. A regular broadcaster, reviewer and contributor to journals including the Times Literary Supplement, Encounter and the Sunday Times, Alan Brownjohn was poetry critic for the New Statesman and was Chairman of the Poetry Society between 1982 and 1988. He has also served on the Arts Council literature panel, was a Labour councillor and a candidate for Parliament. In 2007, he received the Writers’ Guild’s Lifetime Achievement Award. You can find out more about Brownjohn in these interviews, and hear him read some of his poems at the Poetry Archive.
Enitharmon Press takes its name from a William Blake character who represents spiritual beauty and poetic inspiration. Founded in 1967 with an emphasis on independence and quality, Enitharmon has been associated with such figures as Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter and Kathleen Raine. Enitharmon also commissions internationally renowned collaborations between artists, including Gilbert & George, and poets, including Seamus Heaney, under the Enitharmon Editions imprint. You can sign up to the publisher’s mailing list here to receive a newsletter with special offers, details of readings & events and new titles and Enitharmon’s Poem of the Month.
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