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Sport 42: 2014

Peter Bland — Bedtime Story

page 174

Peter Bland

Bedtime Story

for Anna Smith

There’s an old house in a magical garden
where rocks put out perfume
and frogs grow wings. No one lives there
except for lost souls
who accidentally wander in. There’s
also an old man who was once an angel
until he slowly grew clay feet
because he loved the earth so much.
Now he grows mushrooms down in the basement
and sings heavenly songs he half-remembers
from former days among the many mansions
where, long ago, he used to live. I should
also mention a white horse who rests
by a lily pond under a fig tree. He
instantly turns into a statue
if you try to ride him away. But he
becomes himself again when you dismount
and licks the salt from your skin.
The house is full of emptiness
except for some owls, and the flying frogs,
and the soft white sponginess of mushrooms
filling the air with frills. I’d tell you
where the old house is, but there
aren’t any maps and no one ever leaves
to remind me where I saw it last. So
we’ll have to wait until the day
when we smell the rocks
and hear the white horse neigh,
page 175 or catch a glimpse of the flying frogs,
or find ourselves singing a heavenly song
as we spot a gate that’s marked COME IN
and we do, and we’re suddenly full of love
and everything is as it should be.