[lit-ideas] Re: Sunday Poem

The Bromley Cowboy

When I had puzzled it out, a listing on ebay for an "elephant nose bone sword"
this week strangely reminded me of Mull one day years ago when,
at the bottom of a cliff, I found the skull of a Highland Cow.
Over my father's objection I carried this home, which meant sweating it up the cliff and then onto the roof rack of our car, where it passed mile upon mile south to London.

For want of anything smarter,
with a dry cleaning hanger,
I wired it to my Dad's garage.

I took it down, to board a plane to America.
In customs I was asked if I knew how common cows
hereabouts are.

To give the man his due,
he let it through.

The bone moved with me from Western home to Western home until one day a handyman or painter,
asked if I might consider selling it, to his father, a collector.
"No," I said.
Unambiguously.

A good while later,
when next I sought the skull--
well how often do *you* feel the need,
a soliloquy coming on?--
it was gone.

(Now here is where, if I had any Latin,
I'd put a tag in
on recurring thoughts about
the evanescence of
possession.
And maybe also bits concerning
the ups and downs of prepositions.)

What remains to me now, apart from my apparent and somewhat peculiar sensitivity to nose bone sword ads,
is some bark of horn,
an outer covering I didn't know existed,
until I found it near where the rack was last seen.

"CSI my back yard."

Unable to escape my London Scottish roots,
and like some sort of suburban Viking, "dun-roamin',"
I have now mounted this residual lump on length of copper,
cheap signifier of sculpture,
and frail marker for my feeble wrath.

David Ritchie,
Portland, Oregon

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