Ice cubes clink into the last cut glass.
Another magnum drains dry.
Pass the cards to your right.
This hand will last into the memory of this night.
Here is a prince of coins,
hollow-eyed, fingering the salt
he’s spilled across the baize,
heat spreading from his loins.
Here lies a queen of cups
humming ‘Abide with me’,
so much red mist in her eyes,
where it ends, she cannot see.
Here sits a king drowning his sorrows,
head buried in his hands,
the vessel founders in his bottle,
comes to rest on wailing sands.
Here’s a self-made man wielding words
sharper than any mythic sword,
cutting truth, saving rotten wood,
blinded by the brilliance of his own blade.
Observe our house of cards slip
into a sea of silent screams.
This is the stuff of unspoken dreams
on this unsinkable ship.
This is the poem that fills the gap for September 11th 2010. Haven't heard anything, so I guess Gillian Clarke didn't think much of it!