The White Scut of Her Bottom
Saturday, January 10, 2015
By Robin Robertson
Her long body in the spangled shade of the wood
was a swimmer moving through a pool:
fractal, finned by leaf and light;
the loose plates of lozenge and rhombus
wobbling coins of
When she stopped, the water stopped,
and the sun re-made her as a tree,
banded and freckled and foxed.
Besieged by symmetries, condemned
to these patterns of love and loss,
I stare at the wet shape on the tiles
till it fades; when she came and sat next to me
after her swim and walked away
back to the trees, she left a dark butterfly
Saturday was a satisfying day. There were no teenage conflicts, no computer
breakdowns and the four of us (Rosemary, our daughter Hilary and her daughter
Lauren) sad down for dinner. There was a nice fire in the den. The menu
consisted of my Shepherd’s Pie. The recipe is a tad complicated. I grill the
ground meat in the barbecue after I coat the meat with molasses. I also grill a
couple of red peppers moistened with olive oil. I cut up an onion and grind up
a garlic clove. I finish this off on a fry pan while I make mashed potatoes
(with cream and butter). While the meat is cooking I pour about a cup of liquid
that is made up of a bit of soy sauce, mustard, ketchup and chopped olives.
Once the pie is ready for the oven I grind a lot of good Romano Cheese and mix
it with finely chopped onion. Rosemary made a salad and I prepared some corn on
the cob. Our drink consisted of fresh orange juice blended with canned peaches.
Dessert (Lauren demurred) consisted of fried bananas. At the last moment I
decided against firing it up with Calvados.
film was Robert Altman’s beautiful and awfully realistic ballet/modern dance
film (2003) The Company. I had seen it before so I knew that Lauren, who is a
keen balletomane, would enjoy it. We all did.
taking the two home I settled on the bed with Rosemary to read the Sunday NY
Times which is delivered on Saturdays around 9.
In the Book
Review I found a page with the portrait of a man (Scottish poet Robin
Robertson) who resembles John Irving. I read the review and I was flabbergasted
by the intensity of image of this man’s poems about women, their bodies and I
One of my
peculiar delights is to illustrate poems I like with photographs from my files.
I realized quickly that I have not photographed too many women in forest
environments (Swimming in the Woods) and the second one from Venery “the white scut of her
bottom” left me in a quandary. I narrowed it down to the two photographs you
see here. In order to “filter out” some of the bits I scanned the b+w negatives
(from the bottom part of the scanner) with a sheet of smoky paper I purchased
at Opus last month.
I believe I
will have to buy Sailing the Forest –
Selected Poems by Robin Robertson
VeneryBy Robin Robertson
What am I to think now,
the white scut
of her bottom
down the half-flight
to the bathroom?
What am I to do
with this masted image?
I put all my doubt
to the mouth of her long body,
let her draw the night
out of me like a thorn.