More from the Ur Chronicles

There are soft patches of blabber
on Isaac's pale eyes. His doctor

has given him a writ, thick as tongue,
on which his days are carved.

He has two sons. One is reddled,
furry, and can gut a goat. The other

is a Baden-Powell gan-goolie
with fingers like metal pegs. He can

make it big in marquees, wigwams
and tie-dye tepees. The wolf-pack

camps on his parquet floors.
This is no match for a scarlet baboon

with sweaty chevrons, and a natty
talent for shaking a crook.

Marquee man wears kid gloves.
His mother has heard the old'un

baying for goat stew, for a final slurp
of billy broth, and hold the onions.

Daddy, says Jacob, I'm Esau,
with a dinner-tray fresh from the meadow.

Your mouth is mealy, replies Isaac,
but your hands have been fashioned

from crusoe. This skin was recently
browsing the fields. I love you. You

shall have the family salver of silver.
A notary, dibbling his quill in the inkwell,

scratches this down in tiny carbonado
on a heft of vellum. Esau, sitting in

a see-saw, gets the put-you-up, the bench,
and the second best shears. Oh brother.

From Robinson Crusoe's Bank Holiday Monday