Poetry at Sangam



from Hap: Understudies of Thomas Wyatt’s Petrarch by Robert Sheppard

Hap 1: Som fowles there be that have so perfaict sight

I pull down the blind on the sunny train to shield my eyes
like it’s 1948 and I’m some old bird from ‘the firm’
deigning to meet my dark mistress in daylight
but settling for some jazz-sweaty basement in Soho again.
I blinked at Los Alamos just in time, I’d think,
to save my sight and salve my conscience;
I signed the Official Secrets Act in black and white.

But it’s 2017 and out of my reverie I’m up to town
to discuss exit strategies with the three jokers.
When Boris, swollen and unstable, asks me,
‘Is there anything in this Putin-Trump-Brexit business?’
I’ll say, ‘Nothing,’ when I’d meant to say nothing,
and I’ll leap from the frying pan of my amour-propre
into the raging fire of his blinding ambition.