Blues for Samson

By James Lasdun b. 1958 James Lasdun
My stylist
calls me darling,
says Hi I’m Dee, and asks what I’d like today, smiling.
My hair back, I tell her, my precious locks,
thick and unruly and glossy as they were
before I was fleeced.

Her laughter
as she switches
the clippers on, brings back that sweet-throated witch’s
who comforted me as only your enemy can
in the days of my strength, when I smote
hip and thigh in a great slaughter.

Her nice eyes
by and by rest
on mine in the mirror. She leans in, letting her breast
brush against me. She knows her middle-aged man;
playing me like some trailer Delilah,
and I feel it rise;

the old blunt
that always and only wanted what it shouldn’t;
Gaza, Timna, my Valley girl
who spilled me in broad daylight. I must have reckoned
the sun shone out of her cunt.

Too long now
bereft of it,
a woman’s hands in my hair, or what’s left of it,
is all I seem to require of love,
and all I’ll spill is a tip, Dee; big as my straitened
circumstances allow,

for Dee, once
my head wasn’t bare
as that cornfield after the foxes I set on fire
rampaged through it, or the orchards and olive groves
I flattened with my slat-armored D9 ’dozer,
but maned like a lion’s.

Source: Poetry (July/August 2012).


This poem originally appeared in the July/August 2012 issue of Poetry magazine

July/August 2012
 James  Lasdun


Originally from London, James Lasdun has received numerous awards for his work as a poet, novelist, and screenwriter. In his poetry, Lasdun explores the differences between his English roots and his adopted American home, often setting his poems in wild rural landscapes or barely tamed domestic interiors. Though written in free verse, his poetry can feel formal in its use of rhyme and cadence. With the poet Michael Hofmann, . . .

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Poems by James Lasdun

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Growing Old, The Body, Love, Desire, Religion, Christianity

Poetic Terms Concrete or Pattern Poetry

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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