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.

Monday 4 May 2009

Where's my lunch?

Where's my lunch? Well now, I fear the cupboard's bare!

Time to fall back on scavenging for scraps,
through rubbish heaps and dustbins to survive
or find a meal, and even those yield slender pickings.
Once you'd have found immaculate fish-heads,
-tails and -bones like ichthyosaurs, for cartoon cats
to steal, potato peel and chips gone cold
in papers old as yesterday, and ash and cinders,
the residue of forests, fossilised or live.
Now it's mostly plastic shards and shreds,
old cat food tins and wrappers from fish-fingers.

I've heard we'll burn or bury ourselves yet.
What have you heard?


Rouchswalwe said...

Remember milk in buckets set out on the stoop on a cold morning? No container to throw away afterwards. Our garbage even smells different than it used to when I was a girl. Your words have stirred up some memories, dear Lucy.

Roderick Robinson said...

Rubbish - an admirable basis for psycho-analysing the bin's owner. I don't think I know anyone who throws (or, rather, threw) away chips. They carry a gustatory imperative. Even today's plastic wrappings carry hints - the combination of cat food and fish-fingers suggests something I can't quite pin down: like pet, like owner?

Lucas said...

There's definitely a cat prowling down an alley in this poem, rattling a few dustbin lids, and in doing so finding how the world has changed! From "immaculate fish-heads" to "plastic shards and shreds". I like also "the residue of forests, fossilised or live."

The Crow said...