The Settee & The Stairs by David Barber

The Settee & The Stairs
David Barber

Author Sea Chart, insisted the old chap,
a stroke making words slippery as soap,
though we had come to an understanding,

like a glimpse of sky through forest canopy:
a séance friction writer from his youth,
famous mainly for To plough sand and run,

a book and film, it seems, though history
has beached the title like a whale. The year
of 9/11, not the Starchild after all.

The Settee & The Stairs we gave up on,
but Profails of the Feature was a find,
with its timeline of progress stretching off

towards utopias of weather control,
jet packs and colonies on other worlds.
I thought we’d smile at such optimism,

but perhaps it was something that lit up
a solitary childhood, like books do.
In the end words failed him, like the future.


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