by Paul Farley
I’m looking for a classical umbrella,
the kind Freud dreamt of, newly evolved
from walking-stick, before it lost its ferrule
or gained a fancy telescopic action.
I’m not interested in going so far back
as parasol or bondgrace, or lurching
sideways into Crusoe’s skin and bones
contraption, or the lean-tos of antiquity.
No. I want the deeper, bat-wing pitch
that swarms and darkens streets in rainy footage;
a stick with weight and heft – hickory perhaps –
that lightens when its canopy is raised,
cut from a cloth that blocks out light as sure
as camera capes or courthouse head-blankets;
that, taut, could envelop the listener’s head
and amplify the racket from a cloudburst.
Eight spokes, the heavens carved up into zones.
Italian work, the black Strad of umbrellas.
I’m still looking, soaked to the skin outside
an importer of handmade fetish wear.
‘Farley's subjects are utterly normal, boring even, but he is committed to a poetry which turns the familiar into the rich and strange.’ – Andrew Neilson
'Umbrella' is published in The Ice Age by Paul Farley.
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