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A Wasp on the Stair

A Wasp on the Stair

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The canvas was stretched, sized overnight,
Cobalt Blue on palette, Siena, Terre Vert,
linseed and spirit impetuously poured
the brush seized and loaded ready with paint
and angels waited for what would come:
a daub to destroy or one worth a frame?
But hesitation held back the hand
as time took a long, deep breath
- and Zeno was heard to laugh in his tomb.

from Zeno's Curse

David Perman was a journalist with the BBC and that comes out in some of these poems - about Tokyo, Singapore, Greece and interviewing the Ayatollah Khomeini. But in his poetry there also family reminiscences and aches and a wariness, which would be respect if he could only bring himself to admit it, of the person he sees every day in the mirror.