Friday, 11 July 2014

Poetry Corner #7

This week I am going to share another poem by Carol Ann Duffy from her collection, The World's Wife.
Mrs Faust
First things first -
I married Faust.
We met as students,
shacked up, split up,
made up, hitched up,
got a mortgage on a house,
flourished academically,
BA. MA. Ph.D. No kids.
Two towelled bathrobes. Hers. His.

We worked. We saved.
We moved again.
Fast cars. A boat with sails.
A second home in Wales.
The latest toys – computers,
mobile phones. Prospered.
Moved again. Faust’s face
was clever, greedy, slightly mad.
I was as bad.

I grew to love lifestyle,
not the life.
He grew to love the kudos,
not the wife.
He went to whores.
I felt, not jealousy,
but the chronic irritation.
I went to yoga, t’ai chi,
Feng Shui, therapy, colonic irrigation.

And Faust would boast
at dinner parties
of the cost
of doing deals out East.
Then take his lust
to Soho in cab,
to say the least,
to lay the ghost,
get lost, meet panthers, feast.

He wanted more.
I came home late one winter’s evening,
hadn’t eaten.
Faust was upstairs in his study,
in a meeting.
I smelled cigar smoke,
hellish, oddly sexy, not allowed.
I heard Faust and the other
 laugh aloud.

Next thing, the world,
as Faust said,
spread its legs.
First politics -
Safe seat. MP. Right Hon. KG.
Than banks -
offshore, abroad -
and business -
Vice-chairman. Chairman. Owner. Lord.

Enough? Encore!
Faust was Cardinal, Pope,
knew more than God;
flew faster than the speed of sound
around the globe,
lunched;
walked on the moon,
golfed, holed in one;
lit a fat Havana on the Sun.

Then backed a hunch -
invested in smart bombs,
in harms,
Faust dealt in arms.
Faust got in deep, got out.
Bought farms,
cloned sheep.
Faust surfed the internet
for like-minded Bo Peep.

As for me,
I went my own sweet way,
saw Rome in a day,
spun gold from hay,
had a facelift,
had my breasts enlarged,
my buttocks tightened;
went to China, Thailand, Africa,
returned enlightened.

Turned 40, celibate,
teetotal, vegan,
Buddhist, 41.
Went blonde,
redhead, brunette,
went native, ape,
bersek, bananas;
went on the run, alone;
went home.

Faust was inA word, he said,
I spent the night being pleasured
by a virtual Helen of Troy.
Faced that launched a thousand ships.
I kissed its lips.
Thing is -
I’ve made a pact
with Mephistopeheles,
the Devil’s boy.

He’s on his way
to take away
what’s owed,
reap what I sowed.
For all these years of
gagging for it,
going for it,
rolling in it,
I’ve sold my soul.

At this, I heard
a serpent’s hiss
tasted evil, knew its smell,
as scaly devil’s hands
poked up
right through the terracota Tuscan tiles
at Faust’s bare feet
and dragged him, oddly smirking, there and then
straight down to Hell.

Oh, well.
Faust’s will
left everything -
the yacht,
the several houses,
the Lear jet, the helipad,
the loot, et cet, et cet,
the lot -
to me.


C’est la vie.
When I got ill
it hurt like hell.
I bought a kidney
with my credit card,
then I got well.
I keep Faust’s secret still -
the clever, cunning, callous bastard
didn’t have a soul to sell.

Carol Ann Duffy

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