from Odour of Devon Violet


THE RESTORATION ROOMS has just opened up
On the corner of Valance Road in the long-unoccupied
Gloss-framed shop, hunter green curtains bowed
In windows like funeral parlour drapes:
Bygone goods announce its unassuming opening:
A Thirties’ green mangle, or wringer; a late Forties’
Walnut bureau and matching Attlee Settlement replete
With bakelite accoutrements; VELVET has a new
1930s range of papier-mâché floral-patterned escritoires,
Calico doilies, and gallimaufries of knickknacks engorged
With Union Jacks and KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON
Legends –coasters, dish-towels, aprons and framed posters:
Jingoistic souvenirs for patriotic tourists
Of timewarp Britain, cheap flights back to the Thirties;
VINTAGE LEAVES are touting discounts for their services:
‘Choicest Oriental and Indian teas served in
China cups’; while KEEP IT VINTAGE is baking cakes
From halcyon recipes rising like icinged graves,
And serving up turtle soups with black soda bread –
An acquired sight of stag antlers stacked up in its window;
And, in the shadowy stucco-moulded corner
Of a wedding-cake backstreet, MRS. CANUTICACQ’S
EMPORIUM is chocablock with bakelite bric-a-brac,
Curiosities sporting hand-written tags, prices quaintly
Out of reach… But all these quixotic attractions play
Second fiddles to the latest range of DEVON VIOLET
Perfumes, shampoos, soft soaps, spruces, aftershaves…

O those stinging DEVON VIOLET aftershaves are so
Titivating –boast the most comprehensive portfolio
Of chauvinistic aftershaves, gels and creams, talcums,
Balms, perfumes, spices, pepper-sprays –unafraid
To call a spade a spade or play old tunes with spoons…


Alan Morrison’s poetry collections include A Tapestry of Absent Sitters (2009, Waterloo Press), Keir Hardie Street (Smokestack Books, 2010), Captive Dragons (Waterloo, 2012), Blaze a Vanishing (Waterloo, 2013) and Shadows Waltz Haltingly (Lapwing, 2015). He edited the two anti-austerity anthologies, Emergency Verse – Poetry in Defence of the Welfare State (2011) and The Robin Hood Book – Verse Versus Austerity (2012). He is editor of The Recusant and Militant Thistles. His seventh collection, Tan Raptures, is due out with Smokestack in February 2017.


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