Trevor Bailey: ‘If Walls Could Talk’, ‘Standing’ and ‘Status Symbols’

If Walls Could Talk
Tangmere built 1892

If walls could talk, I’d wonder less
of what than why they’d choose to speak
at all. They’d surely not confess
to having had a lovely time

this century gone, with plaster, paint
and paper taking turns at youth
bestowed anew. Anything but quaint!
the mindless fashion-minded rail;

Make it new! said Ezra Pound
of something like my home that stands
and waits and also serves …
in all their stately quiet, slow

in yield to Time’s eroding toll
while graceful yet in mannerly decline,
the poet in me thinks it droll
these stalwart walls don’t tell, they show.

Trevor Bailey

Monument Hill, Albury

Born in peace bought with their blood,
I stand on hallowed earth
And pray for those who died in mud
For more than I am worth.

That war should leave these names unmanned
Should send me to my knees:
I wonder how I stand
With names like these?

Trevor Bailey

Status Symbols
A woman is only a woman, but a good cigar is a smoke.

A good cigar, unwrapped and freed
Of buccal cancer porn and screed,
Is hoist in V-for-Victory vice,
This firm, this hand-rolled tube of nice—
No, best! sublime!—N. tabacum
From Cuba, land of rumba, rum,
And Fidel-de-dee. Poised mid-air,
Watch fragrant clouds enfold a flare
Of red when lips entice a drag
Or two of heaven. (Yet gag
I do, just now and then, for new
Am I to puffery …) A wooden cue
Too chalked: ash lengthens. An hour
Goes. I feel high. To savour
Joy I smoke it till it tapers in,
Then throw up in my paper bin.

Trevor Bailey


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