The Spyglass


Overjoyed by the jungle and shipwreck
Of a one-legged Hollywood legend -
Walrus moustache,
A well-travelled rough-tweed jacket -
The yarn of adventurers, writers, old money,
A glimpse through an archway.
What fool would ignore
The clues that lead to destiny?

A friendly blues-voiced regular was Reggie King,
Who'd topped the bill at the Hundred Club.
He noted with approval that I, like him,
Was fond of Guinness and chain-smoking,
Tapping, from a soft blue pack, Gauloises.
Maybe I could be an exploited talent too;
Or failing that, a velvet essayist
Snoozing in a hat by humid seas...

The Seventies in Earls Court Road  -
An amiable Interzone
Where everyone is celebrating something -
Even if it's only the calming assurance
Things won't go back the way they were;
Hookahs and pastries, dealers in doorways;
The favourable ambush 
Of the sheltering pub.