Amy Clampitt

15 June 1920 - 10 September 1994 / New Providence, Iowa

A Cure At Porlock

For whatever did it—the cider
at the Ship Inn, where the crowd
from the bar that night had overflowed
singing into Southey’s Corner, or
an early warning of appendicitis—
the remedy the chemist in the High Street
purveyed was still a dose of kaopectate
in morphine—the bane and the afflatus
of S.T.C. when Alph, the sacred river,
surfaced briefly in the unlikely
vicinity of Baker Farm, and as quickly
sank again, routed forever by the visitor
whose business, intent and disposition—
whether ill or well is just as immaterial—
long ago sunk Lethewards, a particle
of the unbottled ultimate solution.
I drank my dose, and after an afternoon
prostrate, between heaves, on the
coldly purgatorial tiles of the W.C.,
found it elysium simply to recline,
sipping flat ginger beer as though it were
honeydew, in that billowy bed,
under pink chenille, hearing you read
The Mystery of Edwin Drood! For whether
the opium was worth it for John Jasper,
from finding being with you, even sick
at Porlock, a rosily addictive picnic,
I left less likely ever to recover.
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