Alfie Does Not Speak Much Now

Dorset tenor does not speak much. Harsh mum.
Acquiescent dad. Storm forms and lasts.
Gradual to sudden invasion of dying people,
houses priced out of local reach, cows in fields.

Was lean to shed, doing time, mind slant
numinous creature to the locked lollard,
keeper of birds, hens and beans, skull herd,
hot room surgeon to flinch and buckle.

Was gaunt in the sun and rented room, crew
cut, get it right cheese maker, not so cheeky,
sing a long, what’s that in the magician’s hat,
that T. Cooper moment, mild analgesic, aspirin.

Alfie spits tobacco, his first and index fingers
tightly holding a roll-up, his right arm arcing
outwards and down. His stare fixed, seemingly
intent upon some distant object. Quiet bull.

Now owl, lady’s bedding, dace out of school,
ace in the hole in an underworld of muteness,
nod and nudge, flutterer of bets, plough of silence,
confederacy of dunces, apocrypha and apocryphal.

by David Caddy

‘Alfie Does Not Speak Much Now’, is copyright © David Caddy, 2011. It is reprinted by permission of Shearsman Books from The Bunny Poems (2011).

Notes from Shearsman:

David Caddy is a poet and critic from the Blackmore Vale in north Dorset. He was educated as a literary sociologist at the University of Essex. He founded and organised the East Street Poets, the UK’s largest rural poetry group from 1985 to 2001. He directed the legendary Wessex Poetry Festival from 1995 to 2001, and later the Tears in the Fence festival from 2003 to 2005. He has edited the independent and eclectic literary magazine, Tears in the Fence, since 1984. He co-wrote a literary companion to London in 2006, has written and edited drama scripts and podcasts, and regularly contributes essays, articles and reviews to books and journals. Read more selections from The Bunny Poems by visiting Shearsman’s page about the book here, and watch David Caddy reading from his work at Whittier College’s Dezember House last year.

Shearsman Books is a very active publisher of new poetry, mostly from Britain and the USA, but also with an active translation list. You can learn more about the publisher here, and find Shearsman on Facebook.

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