Her feet were jelly fish stranded in a rock pool
or filo pastry left in the rain
and her toes were marbles lost under the sofa.
And her ankles were secret trapdoors
and her legs were ships lost in the Haar
and her thighs were a terrorist ambush.
Her crotch was a picnic under a shady tree
or a foreign film with subtitles
and her vagina was a waiting room with velvet sofas.
Her stomach was a piano keyboard
or a bottled gas cooker
and her waist was Fingal’s Cave
and her ribs were hieroglyphs found at Skara Brae
and her buttocks were exclamation marks!!
Her breasts were cumulus clouds at sunset
or thermonuclear weapons
or lamps in a distant window.
The crooks of her elbows were pistachios
and her arms were War and Peace
or bulldozers on a building site
and her hands were Olympians.
Her spine was a rope bridge over a canyon
or an Aeolian harp
and her shoulders were white whales.
Her neck was a seagull diving
and her chin was King Canute
and her cheeks were beech leaves used as bookmarks
and her skin was Flamenco.
The tips of her ears were whipped cream
and her teeth were a cryptic puzzle
or the standing stones at Callanich.
Her eyes were a film by David Cronenberg
or Mississippi Mud Pie in a late-night café.
And her eyebrows were squeezed tubes of tooth paste
and her nose was a wind turbine on a Scottish hill
and her mouth was a furnace manufacturing steel rods
or a jewellery box lined with jade.
And her hair was the wings of a Gypsy moth
or frosted willow branches
or a moonlit path
to an unknown destination.
My surrealist poem, Serenade was inspired by Not the Furniture Game by Simon Armitage. He is one of my favorite poets and he was born in Yorkshire, England like myself! I wrote Serenade during a bout of influenza, high with fever, painkillers and sleep deprivation which I’m sure helped the flow of bizarre images. Perhaps it was worth getting the flu as this is a poem I remain proud of. I often use it in writing workshops with adults to encourage the use of bold metaphor.