Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sing O Muse Week: Thinking Cap

Today's poem imagines a hat that is brimming with ideas about its owner. Which makes perfect sense. We love some of our clothes beyond reason--why shouldn't they love us back?

Your Favourite Hat

Believe me when I tell you that
I long to be your favourite hat

The velvet one. Purply-black
With ribbons trailing at the back

The one you wear to parties, plays,
Assignations on red-letter days

Like a bat in your unlit hall
I’d hang until there came the call

To freedom. To hug your crown
As you set off through Camden Town

To run my fingers through your hair
Unbeknown in Chalcot Square

To let them linger, let them trace
My shadow cast upon your face

Until, on reaching the appointed place
(The pulse at your temple, feel it race!)

Breathless you whisper: ‘At last, at last.’
And once inside, aside I’m cast

There to remain as time ticks by
Nap rising at each moan and sigh

Ecstatic, curling at the brim
To watch you naked, there with him

Until too soon, the afternoon gone
You retrieve me, push me on

Then take your leave, (as ever in haste)
Me eager to devour the taste

Of your hair. Your temples now on fire
My tongue, the hatband as you perspire

To savour the dampness of your skin
As you window-gaze. Looking in

But not seeing. Over Primrose Hill
You dawdle, relaxed now, until

Home Sweet Home, where, safely back
Sighing, you impale me on the rack

Is it in spite or because of that
I long to be your favourite hat?

Roger McGough

poem from the anthology Out of Fashion, by Carol Ann Duffy, ed., Faber and Faber, 2004