By David Harsent David Harsent
Consider the rip for a mouth, the rip in the crotch, the hank of hair,
consider the flair for ill-fortune, the empty stare, the done deal
with sorrow, the rich and rare nest-egg of dreams, the share and share
alike in matters of loss, the payments in kind, the liking for blind
bets, for truth or dare; consider the threadbare get up, the make-up
beyond repair, the tin-tack teeth, consider the dungeon voice
wanting nothing more than bare house-room, and nothing less
than hand-in-glove, a pigeon pair given over to make and mend,
to touch and go, to wear and tear, and all it takes is this: forswear 
flint and fire, stay silent, be white on white, live in dead air.

Source: Poetry (January 2011).


This poem originally appeared in the January 2011 issue of Poetry magazine

January 2011
 David  Harsent


David Harsent's latest collection is Fire Songs (Faber and Faber, 2014). In Secret, his English versions of poems by Yannis Ritsos, was published in 2012 by Enitharmon Press.

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Disappointment & Failure

Poetic Terms Prose Poem

Report a problem with this poem

Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine.

Search Every Issue of Poetry

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.