Wednesday, 13 July 2011

The Market

This is almost my favourite place,
This market for men's minds.
The stalls of different size and decoration
Proclaim the temporal fame the vendors
Seek, and sometimes find.

For years now, the prime site
Has been taken by a man in garish waistcoat
And bow-tie, whose brash style
Has certainly attracted the crowds.
Even idle passers-by with little cash
Pause, enthralled to witness such success.

His best performance recently
Was when he auctioned Elvis Presley,
Whose brain was housed inside a gold guitar,
With fingerboard, suitably engraved
With the place and time of death.

It’s rumoured that the sale enticed
Sufficient ghouls to fetch a record price.
But, he’d had success before.
His fortune built upon the sale
Of a score of super minds.

For through his hands, have passed
The brains of Holly, Vincent, Lennon,
Bill Haley and Keith Moon,
And among the dealers there is word,
That very soon, Bob Marley’s brain
May come his way.

Sometimes, there is an extra rush,
When amateur collectors crush his stall
To bid for living minds
Whose future value is unsure.
But, he’s a showman, no mistake,
I’ve seen him suck a budding brain
Out of the eyes and mouth
Of a still living skull
With such sweet skill,
That only small spots stain his hands.

There are of course, other sites of interest
To those who seek a rarer find.
The mind of Marx,
Which has been sought for years,
And has changed hands many times
Is always popular.
But, its value is inconstant,
Not a sure investment for the connoisseur.

For one who seeks a rarer mind,
A tireless wait of countless years
With ears kept to the ground,
Is sometimes insufficient to acquire
Mohammed’s malicious
And mendacious mind.
Or sign a bill of sale
For Buddha’s frail brain.

For almost two thousand years
The mind of Christ, has been bartered for
But never truly bought.
Many men, have thought that their devotion
Had delivered to their care this rarest find,
But, most experts have agreed,
That, some aspects of discovered creed
Has proved their purchase false.

It’s said among attenders at the stall
For such religious relics as the mind of Paul,
(Which does not find too many takers now)
That Christ’s real mind
Had been dissected centuries ago,
And sold in sacred lots
To fetch a higher price.

Yet, in the corner of this market,
There stands an ancient stall,
Whose regular devotees
Make up the smallest group of all.
The auctioneer is old and poorly dressed,
His clothes are crumpled
And his eyes are going blind.
The minds which he displays
Are draped with dust;
Their value, damaged by neglect.

But here, the curious,
Can for no fee at all, but simply
The provision of a large holdall,
Of sufficient strength and size,
Collect such prizes as the minds
Of Rilke, Blake or Yeats for free.

And the old man, who collects such minds,
And knows demand is slight,
Will pay the stray enthusiast
To take away more modern finds
Like that of Larkin, Hughes or Hill.

For this is where the bargains are,
Where you can travel further through
The thoughts of men than anywhere.
Where the old man, will pay
A boy with interested eyes
A fee, to cart away
Minds which would decay for good.
But for his interest
In the waiting words
Of extraordinary men.

Yet when, he finally unpacked
His recent finds,
It was the undiscovered female minds
Which shone the all illuminating
Light upon the thoughts of men.

© James Rainsford 2011

Note to readers: Your views are very welcome. I'll try to respond to all who leave a comment. Please click on the tab below to record your opinion. Peace to all who visit here, James.


  1. Fascinating. As I was reading, I pictured books...

    Enjoyed this...

  2. Great portrayal of such powerful minds, wonderful close too and so very true.

  3. I've read many poems of yours, James, which have pleased and entertained and caused me to think, but this is by far my new favorite. Intelligent, ironic, and full of prize observations,this is fine writing from first to last. And of course, the ending, as a female mind, pleases especially.

  4. I enjoyed this piece immensely James, but it is such an in depth piece that I truly don't feel qualified to comment; hopefully one day I will!

  5. smiles. love the close man...ha. dissecting the mind of christ...yep a lot of people trying that one...and the sucking out through the eyes and nose...ewww....

  6. What an ambitous and fascinating poem. I was about to say something about where are the women when you hit me with the last line! I wonder if men and women will ever understand one another... But I loved this tour and dance and the powerful idea of buying the virtuouso brain--xxxj

  7. For whatever reason this brought to mind Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita, which I love. It had a wry wit but wasn't precious about it and suprised me at the end. Thank you.

  8. Whose brain can I buy to come up with a fitting response to this brilliant, somewhat creepy poem? Not many minds would have thought of this, James. I'm a bit envious of yours.

  9. I also thought of books as I read, and then how could I not find a smile in the closing lines as a woman :)

  10. Excellent write, sir. Was a pleasure to read and learn.


If you wish your views and opinions to be published here, please be polite and respectful. I welcome feedback on my work and will try to respond if you take the trouble to post a comment. Thanks for visiting 'The Sanctum of Sanity.' Hope you enjoyed the experience, James.