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Dazzling nails

A free-ish version of Follain's 'Quincaillerie'.

Hardware Store

after Jean Follain

In a country hardware store
men come to buy
screwdrivers and wrenches
their hair is grey their hair is red
neatly flattened or flying wild.
A bluish air fills the serious spaces,
into its iron tang women set loose
the scent
of themselves.
Just to touch the spotless bolts and drills
is to feel the irresistible
weight of the world.

The hardware store floats towards the stars
selling, until no-one wants for them,
nail after dazzling nail.


Mark Granier said…
Lovely Peter: the hardware store assumed into myth. Does Follain have a thing about metal objects (screwdrivers, wrenches, etc.)? Because that poem reminds me very much of another, one of the very few I know by him: 'Music of Spheres', (from the Rattle Bag) translated by Milosz and Hass. Both poems have similar hard-edged metallic textures; the latter has keys, a tin can, and even the night is 'studded' with stars.

Can you recommend a good Selected? the one by Merwin?
The Cat Flap said…
Thanks, Mark, I don't know the Milosz/Hass translation, must look it up. The Merwin book is good, there's also a selection by Heather McHugh which I'm thinking of ordering. And he's the first poet in the new Anvil anthology, Into the Deep Street, 7 contemporary French poets translated by Stephen Romer and Jennie Feldman. Hoping to do a piece on that.
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