It comes and goes, the smile:
Involuntary, a sign of grace
But forced, becomes a scowl,
Or the fixed grin of a crocodile,
The sneer on a camel's lips.
It's what's inside the head that counts
Yet hard to know, of all that's there, what
To show; and when to check a quiver
At the corner of the mouth, or the light
That builds up in the eyes,
Alive with pleasure or surprise.
But when the gaoler turns his back,
Breaks for lunch, or for a nap,
With no one guarding it,
A memory rises, like the sun in mist.
Yes, I guess I'm smiling now... and yet...
Qui custodiet ipsos custodes?
Questions is a collaboration by Lucy Kempton and Joe Hyam. Poems are based on questions drawn from an agreed starting question and formed by answers, which contain and inspire the next questions. In response to Lucy's first question, Joe kicks off. This follows our earlier work in Compasses, archived here, where Lucy's photographs illustrate Joe's series of 50 sonnets under the title Handbook for Explorers.