The Young

By Roddy Lumsden b. 1966 Roddy Lumsden
You bastards! It’s all sherbet, and folly   
makes you laugh like mules. Chances   
dance off your wrists, each day ready,   

sprites in your bones and spite not yet   
swollen, not yet set. You gather handful   
after miracle handful, seeing straight,   

reaching the lighthouse in record time,   
pockets brim with scimitar things. Now   
is not a pinpoint but a sprawling realm.   

Bewilderment and thrill are whip-quick   
twins, carried on your backs, each vow   
new to touch and each mistake a broken   

biscuit. I was you. Sea robber boarding   
the won galleon. Roaring trees. Machines   
without levers, easy in bowel and lung.   

One cartwheel over the quicksand curve   
of Tuesday to Tuesday and you’re gone,   
summering, a ship on the farthest wave.

Source: Poetry (December 2008).


This poem originally appeared in the December 2008 issue of Poetry magazine

December 2008
 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 Activities, Living, Youth


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