Play Story, by Clive Donovan



And so the story begins:
with a house in which our hero prince resides.
It can be empty – or full – as you choose.
Our hero is torn between two states:
Solitude and Company.


Let us say he wishes to be alone
and there the leading lady is, polishing the grate,
or some such earthly task
and the smell of the polish offends
and disturbs and he banishes this personage.


A gross mistake: Because that character
was the one who kept the household alive and viable,
though nobody realized it or thought it through
and now hero suffers inconvenience and dark night
of soul and wishes for solace. Door knocks.


And a charming stranger offers solace and delight
at end of tunnel and hero is gladly accepting,
without checking references.
Fatal flaws: Impulsiveness and bad judge of character.
Grate unpolished, no promised light and candlesticks stolen.


Final act: He misses the smell of polish. Sings a bit,
cathartic lesson learned, remorseful, [also evicted].
lives in a hut now with new, paradoxical desire:
Solitude in Company and Company in Solitude.
With advancing senility, it is all delivered.


Clive Donovan is the author of two poetry collections, The Taste of Glass [Cinnamon Press] and Wound Up With Love [Lapwing] and is published in a wide variety of magazines including Acumen, Agenda, Crannog, Popshot, Prole, Spilling Cocoa Over Martin Amis and Stand. He lives in Totnes, Devon, UK. He is a Pushcart and Forward Prize nominee for 2022’s best individual poems.


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