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Best Famous Vernon Scannell Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Vernon Scannell poems. This is a select list of the best famous Vernon Scannell poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Vernon Scannell poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Vernon Scannell poems.

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by Vernon Scannell | |

Incendiary

 That one small boy with a face like pallid cheese 
And burnt-out little eyes could make a blaze 
As brazen, fierce and huge, as red and gold 
And zany yellow as the one that spoiled 
Three thousand guineas' worth of property 
And crops at Godwin's Farm on Saturday 
Is frightening---as fact and metaphor: 
An ordinary match intended for 
The lighting of a pipe or kitchen fire 
Misused may set a whole menagerie 
Of flame-fanged tigers roaring hungrily.
And frightening, too, that one small boy should set The sky on fire and choke the stars to heat Such skinny limbs and such a little heart Which would have been content with one warm kiss Had there been anyone to offer this.


by Vernon Scannell | |

Nettles

 My son aged three fell in the nettle bed.
'Bed' seemed a curious name for those green spears, That regiment of spite behind the shed: It was no place for rest.
With sobs and tears The boy came seeking comfort and I saw White blisters beaded on his tender skin.
We soothed him till his pain was not so raw.
At last he offered us a watery grin, And then I took my billhook, honed the blade And went outside and slashed in fury with it Till not a nettle in that fierce parade Stood upright any more.
And then I lit A funeral pyre to burn the fallen dead, But in two weeks the busy sun and rain Had called up tall recruits behind the shed: My son would often feel sharp wounds again.


by Vernon Scannell | |

Silver Wedding

 Silver Wedding

The party is over and I sit among
The flotsam that its passing leaves,
The dirty glasses and fag-ends:
Outside, a black wind grieves.
Two decades and a half of marriage; It does not really seem as long, Of youth's ebullient song.
David, my son, my loved rival, And Julia, my tapering daughter, Now grant me one achievement only; I turn their wine to water.
And Helen, partner of all these years, Helen, my spouse, my sack of sighs, Reproaches me for every hurt With injured, bovine eyes.
There must have been passion once, I grant, But neither she nor I could bear To have its ghost come prowling from Its dark and frowsy lair.
And we, to keep our nuptials warm, Still wage sporadic war; Numb with insult each yet strives To scratch the other raw.
Twenty-five years we've now survived; I'm not sure either why or how As I sit with a wreath of quarrels set On my tired and balding brow.


by Vernon Scannell | |

The Men Who Wear My Clothes

 Sleepless I lay last night and watched the slow 
Procession of the men who wear my clothes: 
First, the grey man with bloodshot eyes and sly 
Gestures miming what he loves and loathes.
Next came the cheery knocker-back of pints, The beery joker, never far from tears, Whose loud and public vanity acquaints The careful watcher with his private fears.
And then I saw the neat mouthed gentle man Defer politely, listen to the lies, Smile at the tedious tale and gaze upon The little mirrors in the speaker's eyes.
The men who wear my clothes walked past my bed And all of them looked tired and rather old; I felt a chip of ice melt in my blood.
Naked I lay last night, and very cold.


by Vernon Scannell | |

The Terrible Abstractions

 The naked hunter's fist, bunched round his spear, 
Was tight and wet inside with sweat of fear; 
He heard behind him what the hunted hear.
The silence in the undergrowth crept near; Its mischief tickled in his nervous ear And he became the prey, the quivering deer.
The naked hunter feared the threat he knew: Being hunted, caught, then slaughtered like a ewe By beasts who padded on four legs or two.
The naked hunter in the bus or queue Under his decent wool is frightened too But not of what his hairy forebear knew.
The terrible abstractions prowl about The compound of his fear and chronic doubt; He keeps fires burning boldly all night through, But cannot keep the murderous shadows out.


by Vernon Scannell | |

Where Shall We Go?

 Waiting for her in the usual bar
He finds she's late again.
Impatience frets at him, But not the fearful, half-sweet pain he knew So long ago.
That cherished perturbation is replaced By styptic irritation And, under that, a cold Dark current of dejection moves That this is so.
There was a time when all her failings were Delights he marvelled at: It seemed her clumsiness, Forgetfulness and wild non-sequiturs Could never grow Wearisome, nor would he ever tire Of doting on those small Blemishes that proved Her beauty as the blackbird's gloss affirms The bridal snow.
The clock above the bar records her theft Of time he cannot spare; Then suddenly she's here.
He stands to welcome and accuse her with A grey 'Hello'.
And sees, for one sly instant, in her eyes His own aggrieved dislike Wince back at him before Her smile draws blinds.
'Sorry I'm late,' she says.
'Where shall we go?'


by Vernon Scannell | |

Ageing Schoolmaster

 And now another autumn morning finds me
With chalk dust on my sleeve and in my breath,
Preoccupied with vague, habitual speculation
On the huge inevitability of death.
Not wholly wretched, yet knowing absolutely That I shall never reacquaint myself with joy, I sniff the smell of ink and chalk and my mortality And think of when I rolled, a gormless boy, And rollicked round the playground of my hours, And wonder when precisely tolled the bell Which summoned me from summer liberties And brought me to this chill autumnal cell From which I gaze upon the april faces That gleam before me, like apples ranged on shelves, And yet I feel no pinch or prick of envy Nor would I have them know their sentenced selves.
With careful effort I can separate the faces, The dull, the clever, the various shapes and sizes, But in the autumn shades I find I only Brood upon death, who carries off all the prizes.


by Vernon Scannell | |

Juan In Middle Age

 The appetite which leads him to her bed 
Is not unlike the lust of boys for cake 
Except he knows that after he has fed 
He'll suffer more than simple belly-ache.
He'll groan to think what others have to pay As price for his obsessive need to know That he's a champion still, though slightly grey, And both his skill and gameness clearly show.
And after this quick non-decision bout, As he in his dark corner gasping lies, He'll hear derision like a distant shout While kisses press like pennies on his eyes.