Doppelgänger

If anyone has read my review of Matthew Harffy’s excellent new novella, Kin of Cain – featured prominently on Speesh Reads recently, in case you hadn’t noticed. In amongst all the nonsense, you may have seen me mention  ‘a shape amid the shadows, a momentary glimpse of gleaming eyes.’ These lines popped into my mind while reading the atmospheric superbity of Kin of Cain, especially the first half.

The lines are from a poem called Doppelgänger, by J. A. Lindon.

Wikipedia has this to say about him :

James Albert Lindon (c. 1914 – 16 December 1979) was an English puzzle enthusiast and poet specialising in light verse, constrained writing, and children’s poetry. His poems often won weekly newspaper competitions, but seldom appeared in anthologies. His palindromic poems appeared occasionally in Word Ways: The Journal of Recreational Linguistics, and several were collected in Howard W. Bergerson’s Palindromes and Anagrams.  Author Martin Gardner often spoke highly of Lindon’s poetry, referring to him as the greatest English writer of comic verse. His skill at wordplay was similarly lauded, with Gardner, Bergerson, Dmitri Borgmann, and others proclaiming him to be among the world’s finest palindromists.

I first saw the poem many years ago, in a booklet of palindromes, produced by a printing company as a showcase for their services. It was illustrated and produced beautifully and this poem has stayed with me ever since.

See what you think.

Doppelgänger

Entering the lonely house with my wife

I saw him for the first time

Peering furtively from behind a bush –

Blackness that moved,

A shape amid the shadows,

A momentary glimpse of gleaming eyes

Revealed in the ragged moon.

A closer look (he seemed to turn) might have

Put him to flight forever –

I dared not

(For reasons that I failed to understand),

Though I knew I should act at once.

I puzzled over it, hiding alone,

Watching the woman as she neared the gate.

He came, and I saw him crouching

Night after night.

Night after night

He came, and I saw him crouching,

Watching the woman as she neared the gate.

I puzzled over it, hiding alone –

Though I knew I should act at once,

For reasons that I failed to understand

I dared not

Put him to flight forever.

A closer look (he seemed to turn) might have

Revealed in the ragged moon

A momentary glimpse of gleaming eyes

A shape amid the shadows,

Blackness that moved.

Peering furtively from behind a bush,

I saw him, for the first time,

Entering the lonely house with my wife.

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