A poem a day – Count Von Toonenburg

Clifton Suspension Bridge BristolIn the early nineties I had just bought my first apartment and had lodgers to help pay the mortgage. They were all real characters. One became a Conservative MEP and the ‘Count’ was an artist and sculptor. There are lots of plays on words here that refer to places in Bristol and London as well as the 1980’s and 1990’s obsession with the creation of wealth and status. The ‘Count’ came from an ordinary background but created an image and persona straight out of an Evelyn Waugh novel. He was great company and I loved his work.

Anyone else had lodgers who were unusual or became famous?

Count Von Toonenburg

Through Clifton lights, Sloane Square nights,

Tatlered by his stucco façade, now gelled in place,

He steps into the sunlight purveying the scene,

Through black rimmed Ray Bans.

‘Forstered’ by self aggrandizement with ‘Harpers

And Queens’ travelling in Pinaforina GTI’s.

To grace the Terrace Bar and gorge on patronising glances.

Loafers sweep across the terrace floor,

Greeting each other with leather-bound kisses,

As the hands sweep continuously through cascading hair

And talk of Daddy’s latest acquisition.

This is your world, were you placed your ladder,

Eager to climb to those “cast iron balconies”

And brush past the damask draped around French windows.

The door remains ajar but opens only to the few,

As the piper call the tune and the ‘beautiful people’ follow.

10 June 1993


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