The Thing Itself
The important thing is to build new sentences,
to give them a smart shape,
to get acquainted with grammar like a new friend.
One rubs down syntax
into coarse familiarity,
such foreplay as closes down all thought.
Were it not
that the undertaking is too mannered
(as gnostic as a shower of rabbits)
I would like to go right back,
devising a sentence
unlike any other creature in creation;
like nothing on the planet:
a structure full of brackets and cornices,
twigs, pediments, dadoes and halos and bells,
full of nuts, butter and flowers!
capable of blotches or of waving hair.
This would be a sentence to really show the buggers,
like a cute
or like a tree
by some utterly brilliant committee;
it would glitter, articulate,
strum and diversify.
It would be the thing itself.
Chris Wallace-Crabbe is a poet and a professor (emeritus) and a tennis player and an amateur visual artist – and one of our elder statesmen. He reads his work so well, it is a delight to go to one of his readings. I try not to miss them. This subtle quirky poem is in his chapbook from Wagtail (Picaro Press) called The Thing Itself. (Published Feb 2007.)