Working Up

by Kate Compston

Hear this. In my old town house,
genteel and shabby, tall-storeyed,
phrases loiter in the scullery, waiting
for promotion above stairs,
there to be liveried, delivered
into sentences, sentenced to public scrutiny,
sentenced to breath.

I am holding mine, but do not advocate
lung-burst on your part: the old bells
do not ring in the modern city. Service
is not what it was – such want
of dignity! It’s instant-everything: none will wait
for a gradual working up. Sound-bites crash in
unceremoniously. My truth comes in too late.