Langside Library – Glasgow
For my first time handing out poems in Glasgow, I chose ‘Or Passing the Time with Some Rhyme’ from Claudia Rankine‘s third collection, Plot (Grove Press, 2001). I like it because it’s one of those poems that sticks in your mind even if you don’t really know what’s going on. And everyone loves a bit of rhyme!
Langside is my new local library, so it seemed like a good place to start. It is a big, busy library with a funky carpet and a hearty poetry section. When I was preparing the poems I sat near a weekly writing group who were quietly talking about all the unknown, unpublished women writers of history.
Most passers by politely took a poem, and many seemed pleasantly surprised. One man read it while waiting to cross the road, and I hoped he wouldn’t walk across while still reading. But he got all the way to the end then came back to ask me about it. When I asked if he likes poetry, he said: “only the ones that capture us”.
Or Passing the Time with Some Rhyme
Too much within—close the garage, reset
the alarm, let the eye in the world coo.
The River Ouse flows on no matter what
or who gets caught as its debris. She sits
in Le Café for once not distracted
by boo, its bark. She sits rudely sunglassed,
blue silk cascading off her tumultuous
tummy. Honey, are you happy? You there,
indiscriminate, in your loosened dress
skirting sidewalks. You there, flirting across
each shop window though a pastel broach moos
powdered jade, asking, Are you happily—
oh bovine, oh babe—are you happily
charmed? For this world, oh this whorl is a woo.