Taverns Measureless to Man
After an evening at The Rummer Hotel
we leave by the side door into the back alley
glad in a way for the taste of the shake-up
having never sampled anything like it before.
Walking into the street, our pockets stuffed
with pamphlets on Pantisocracy, everything
looks different. What hasn’t changed
are the facades of the buildings and the nails
outside the Corn Exchange. The women
are all over the place, legs and ankles
exposed to the strangely fresh air,
panties showing slightly beneath their skirts,
faces healthier than ever before, their hair
bizarre colours. Turning into Vine Street
we think of STC and the lyrical balladry
where Cottle’s bookshop might have been.
The masts of the ships are nowhere to be seen.
What kind of trade arrangement is that, we jib,
TTIP, my arse, as we head for Castle Park
on the floating harbour. The bombed-out church
looks good at night, with its herb garden
well tended, fragrant with what we can preserve
of human hope in radical times. I give you
Compass Plant, Lavender, and Peace Flower,
rubbing it in as deeply as I can. Take my hand.
Your sweaty palm softens my skin
which, as usual, is burning with the sorrows
of our generation. Don’t get political on me,
you say, we can do that later. Be my nature spirit,
my trade route and my produce;
be my Breakfast Martini, my Depth Bomb, my Rum Flip.
Rachael Boast was born in Suffolk in 1975. Her first two collections, Sidereal (2011) and Pilgrim’s Flower (2013) form a twin set, with a third due also from Picador in 2016.