In ‘The Garden Tent’
What rhymes with Aeolian chimes, swaying guardian trees?
Home sweet home, between-times, afternoons at ease.
What rhymes with this turquoise-striped, faded awning?
The sagging oak-canopy, the shaded nave yawning.
Two girls in crinoline: haircomb, bustle, stay?
White water gliding, the trill of light at play.
And, in their hands, Persuasion? The Lady of Shalott?
Am I locked in a dream and is time running out?
Then the snake Doubt advances, hissing ‘yes and yes’.
The perfect rhymes canker in Churchyard’s paradise.
Kevin Crossley-Holland is a poet, writer for children, broadcaster and interpreter of the northern world. His New and Selected Poems 1965 – 1990 were published by Hutchinson in 1991 and he was present writing a novel revolving around the life of Sir Thomas Malory, and (with Nicola LeFanu) writing an opera for the 1994 Aldeburgh Festival. He holds the endowed chaire in the humanities at the University of St Thomas in Minnesota, and divides his time between the USA and Suffolk.