Clarification

   ‘Will you please go to Harrods and look at children’s gloves.’
   – Arthur Crutenden Mace in a letter to his wife.

a glove brought
as an offering
drops from
a goalie
a young American punter
a man who just pops out of the shelter
for a horse drawn tram
it comes round the corner
sunlight on its top
a man in Dublin who greyly crosses the street
in 1957
it materialises in front of the post office
an undertaker’s glove
an IRA man’s glove
still warm from the hand
of a lover
or another man 
a gentleman is known
by his gloves
wore one like this and white
not black
the Sepoys in Sheerporah
cut Sam with a sword
taking off his left arm 
in 1858
and by god his career 
is only starting
General Sir Sam Brown
constructs a belt
that goes over his shoulder
and holds his sword
to compensate 
for his ghost arm
some say that Sam
pinches the baldric
from warrior Sikhs,
the Nihang 
(one being fearless
and unrestrained) 
part of an officer’s
uniform (the belts)
can come from 
one being fearless
and unrestrained
for an officer
must be fearless
and restrained
by belts
Sam’s arm and hand and glove
are not there
he poses for a photograph
his hat and white plumes
almost covering
a glove
a flopping piece of uniform
and maybe
just maybe
the ghost arm 
drops a ghost glove
in lost places
or a gabardine coated man
with a Sam Brown belt
a member of the 
Irish Republican Army
prone
listening to the road
of grey noise
silent
look for 
the glove
of Tutankhamen
bright red and blue
linen
he pulls the reins
lets go 
his horses
they canter  
through the desert
or does Cecil Beaton
forget one
in his carriage 
in 1922
going from London
to St John’s in Cambridge 
or of Laërtes 
his losing one
while walking in his garden
a glove is waiting
behind O J Simpson’s guest house
or Shakespeare’s dad
a white tawer
his local material
mostly deer
drops one
for us
in a time of masks 
a glove
a hand me down
materialising again at the post office
a gift
slithers on top of a wall
and you don’t know  
if honour is calling 
for a duel
a glove strikes a man
on the face
throwing down the gauntlet
it can be a thief’s
or a prop
from the Mummers
(Momus, a Greek god
of mockery and scoff)
the doctor will give
a magic potion
we are all off again
the glove
maybe
comes from a team
of Morris Dancers
baldrics and ribbons
and a group of longswords
being put into lock 
around her ghostly neck
she (is a he) 
dresses in an old woman’s clothes
bends 
to gaze at dancer’s legs
in the confusion 
loses her glove
when the lock
is put on her
a glove
g - love
in The Tail of Mac Da Thó’s Pig
Diarmaid claims that Conall Cernach
put his bloodied hand 
on a banner
as he avenged the death
of Cú Chullainn
O’Neil and Ulster 
brooch the bloodied hand
for themselves
caught with the red hand
are you galloping for the border
realising the rider
in front of you
will reach the land
before you
lop off a hand
now
and throw it 
so the first flesh
that lands
is your flesh 
once more 
diesel changes colour
at the border
and a red glove
smelling of it  
is found in
thousands of margins
and then today
a young American gentleman
who has a baseball mitt
sleeps with it
under his mattress 
has come to one of Europe’s
great race courses
with a man
vivaciously talking
and the man
dead for some years
has disappeared 
into the crowd 
leaves the young American
with a glove

 


[Mark Lawlor lives in Sheffield. Poems have appeared recently in Cyphers,  the moth,  Skylight 47. Awarded a Hawthornden Fellowship 2020.]

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