Desmond Painter. ‘n Bloemlesing hedendaagse Britse gedigte

Identity Parade

Identity Parade

Diegene wat na die lees van my onlangse stukke oor ‘postkoloniale’ en ander hedendaagse Britse digters dink daar is iewers ‘n slang in die gras, is heeltemal reg! Ek beskik beslis nie oor ‘n uitgebreide kennis van die Britse digkuns nie. Waarom op aarde sou ek?! My bron, wat ek natuurlik doelbewus weerhou het sodat ek slim en belese kon klink (maar wat ek nou wil onthul sodat Louis die boek vir sy winkel kan bestel en julle dit kan koop) is ‘n bloemlesing, Identity Parade: New British & Irish Poets, saamgestel deur Roddy Lumsden en 2010 uitgegee deur Bloodaxe Books. 

Volgens die flapteks: “Identity Parade presents new British and Irish poetry at a time of great vibrancy and variety. It is the first anthology to comprehensively represent the generation of poets who have emerged since the mid-1990s. Eclectic, diverse and wide-ranging in scope, the book fully reflects the climate of ‘the pluralist now’. It offers the work of 85 highly individual and distinctive talents whose poems display the breadth of styles and approaches characterstic of our current poetry.”

Soos my onlangse bloginskrywings oor Anthony JosephPatience Agbabi, Daljit Nagra, Bernardine Evaristo, David Briggs en Annie Freud hopelik laat blyk het, is daar heelwat wat die moeite werd is om te lees in Identity Parade, en inderdaad ‘n groot verskeidenheid van stemme en style om van kennis te neem. Terloops, die samesteller is ook ‘n digter, al is daar geen van sy eie gedigte in die bloemlesing opgeneem nie. Hy is in 1966 in Skotland gebore en sy bundels sluit in Yeah, Yeah, Yeah (1997) en Roddy Lumsden is Dead (2003). Ek hou baie van sy “Against Naturism”.

 

Against Naturism – by Roddy Lumsden

I realise it’s not all salad sandwiches

at pinewood picnics, endless volleyball.

I’ve heard the argument that talk of shame

and how our forebears thought their bodies dirty;

how we’ve all got one. Seen one, seen ’em all.

 

But it’s not for me, beneath my double load

of Calvinist and voyeuristic tendencies.

For me, I have to see the clothes come off:

the way a button’s thumbed through cotton cloth –

a winning move in some exotic game

 

with no set rules but countless permutations –

or how a summer dress falls to the floor

with momentary mass and with a plash

that stirs us briefly as we ply our passion;

a hand pushed through the coldness of a zip,

 

three fingertips that follow down the spine

to where a clasp is neatly spun undone

amidkiss, by prime legerdemain

and who cares that it happens once in four

and never, never on the first undressing,

 

it must be better than a foreskin snagged

on gorse thorns or a cold, fat nipple jammed

in the scissor drawer, the bounty and the blessing,

the mystery of nakedness reduced

till on a par with go-go palaces

 

where goosebumped, grinding strippers strut their stuff

in the birthday clothes of backstreet empresses,

down on a par with the oncologist

who gropes for lumps, the night-morgue man who clips

his nails amongst the naked, bin-bagged stiffs.

 

So, stranger, what I want to say is this:

if you’re to join me in a little sinning

(and this is my place up here on the right),

please understand I’d value some reluctance,

a cold-feet shiver, as in the beginning

 

when Eve discovered modesty and slipped

in and out of something comfortable.

For there are many ways to skin a cat,

but ours is human nature – things come off

so rarely. Come in. Let me take your coat.

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