by Annie Freud


Gagging for the Canon

The militia stops for sandwiches.
The outlook seems uncertain.
An ambush would be welcome.
I check the mail to see what gives.
             The beautiful flints in the river.
             are the beautiful flints in the river.
             I hope for a change in the weather.
             I'm gagging for the canon.


I speak into the trumpet
of your freeze-dried daffodil.
The more I scrape the barrel
the hollower it rings.
             Beware of illustrious birds,

             be they black or be they white.
             They're the ones that shoot you down.
             I'm gagging for                  the canon.


My thoughts are like rutting Chihuahuas.
My tropes like rendered marrow.
I'm like an old geranium-filled
Wheelbarrow in the snow.
             Once there were wild horses.
             They're on the other side of the river.
             The drums are getting fainter.
             I'm gagging for                the canon.


From The Mirabelles © Annie Freud 2010, published by Picador.

While I was putting this book together and seesawing between the highs and lows of composition, I had been dipping into the poems of Robert Burns and marvelling at his inventiveness and versatility and hoping that something of his flair for form, metre and stanzaic structure might somehow rub off on me. I found myself writing this little bog-military tattoo, while humming these lines of Bob Dylan's Love Minus Zero:

Bankers' nieces seek perfection
Expecting all the gifts that wise men bring.

As usual, I was waiting for a 'person from Porlock' to show up and since they resolutely refused to, I went down to the river at the bottom of the field in the hope of finding something, anything to divert me: the beautiful flints in the river were of course the beautiful flints in the river.