Issue 12

Summer 2014


Young John Milton on Bread Street


High in the house I read until my eyes
no longer register the swimming page.
The hubbub's packed away, the daily cries
recede, and London creeps into its cage.
There are some miscreants. In light or dark
the Mermaid draws a motley crowd, like him
I call the pirate, or his friend the clerk:
one squat, thuggish and low; the other prim
and buttoned, as though keeping much within
had smoothed his face and leached into his bones.
I hear him later, in the whirling din,
apostrophise the stars in country tones
and scamper like a manumitted clown,
a rustic Ovid with a shining crown.


David Callin