These poems were inspired by phrases found in the classic work ‘Tender is the Night’ by Scott Fitzgerald.
POEMS SUGGESTED BY PHRASES FROM
SCOTT FITZGERALD’S ‘TENDER IS THE NIGHT’
A Scherzo of Colour
Bougainvillea against a plaster wail,
pink lips parted in desire;
a pool of blood in the doorway.
Lap it all up.
If you prefer black and white,
a touch of evil –
fly a dark kite
hieroglyph of agony.
A Carnival of Affection
They all come to the party –
Little Noddy and Wittgenstein
Winston Churchill and Gary Glitter
And isn’t that Audrey Hepburn
arm in arm with
F. Scott Fitzgerald?
The host went to bed early, alone,
smeared on the ormolu mirror.
A chord of delight
That’s how his fingers struck the mandolin:
he’d half expected to satisfy
half the female congregation,
section the other half.
“You’re ‘avin a laugh, boy,
you wouldn’t know a tune
from your epiglottis…”
Nevertheless, once in a while,
an accord of delight –
she said, quietly, she might
A Hard Boiled Sparkle in His Eyes
Not how she’d imagined breakfast.
They were mute.
His opened broadsheet
a River Lethe between them.
‘Had you forgotten?’ she didn’t say.
Served her right.
Cooked to a turn in Veuve Cliquot
Reality is not what it was
for the Widow Cliquot:
there is rust in the geranium,
a nervous tic in the Venetian blind.
Best get slewed, trip
the light fantastic,
crunch the meringue,
raise our tulip flutes
"Peter Pegnall is a latter day Larkin whose Season of Missed Chances, his fourth book of poems, charts his by now characteristic urban settings, invariably London and on closer inspection the environs of Richmond while allowing for No Edward Hoppers in Hounslow, Two in a Bus Shelter in Twickenham or simply Skint in Harrod’s Food Hall. Throughout, Pegnall’s gently irascible and jaded style is now more elegiac but he remains a poet of the bon mot, conversational in the most literary sense and capable here of a devastating sequence of Farewells, the coyly clever Poems Suggested by Phrases from Scott Fitzgerald’s ‘Tender is the Night’ or a ‘prayer’ that closes;
This morning, two doves perched on my washing line.
I kept my silence. There may yet be time."
Joseph Woods, Director of Poetry Ireland.
Copyright Text © Peter Pegnall 2009
All rights reserved