Against Complaint

By Roddy Lumsden b. 1966 Roddy Lumsden

After the Yoruba

Though the amaryllis sags and spills
so do those my wishes serve, all along the town.
And yes, the new moon, kinked there in night's patch,
tugs me so—but I can't reach to right the slant.
And though our cat pads past without a tail, some
with slinking tails peer one-eyed at the dawn, some
with eyes are clawless, some with sparking claws
contain no voice with which to sing
of foxes gassing in the lane.
                                                         Round-shouldered pals
parade smart shirts, while my broad back supports
a scrubby jumper, fawn or taupe.
                                                          The balding English
air their stubble while some headless hero sports
a feathered hat. I know a man whose thoroughbred
grazes in his porch for want of livery.
There are scholars of Kant who can't find Kent
on the map, and men of Kent who cannot
fathom Kant.
                   We who would polish off a feast have lain
late in our beds, our bellies groaning, throats on fire.
We who'd drain a vat of wine have drunk
our own blood for its sting.
                                                            Each of us in tatters flaunts
one treasured garment flapping in the wind.

Source: Poetry (December 2006).


This poem originally appeared in the December 2006 issue of Poetry magazine

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December 2006
 Roddy  Lumsden


Roddy Lumsden was born in St. Andrews, Scotland; he describes his upbringing as small-town and working-class. His earliest exposure to literature came from his mother and older brother, who would read aloud to him when he was a child. Later, when he attended school, his writing was influenced by the works of W.S. Graham, Philip Larkin, Thom Gunn, T.S. Eliot, and Sylvia Plath, and by song lyrics.

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Friends & Enemies, Arts & Sciences, Philosophy, Social Commentaries, Life Choices


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