Calling at the Albany to see Graham Greene.Posted: May 21, 2013 Filed under: Fictional London, Literary London | Tags: Albany, Dmitri Kasterine, Graham Greene, The Comedians 1 Comment
Graham Greene, Antibes. © Dmitri Kasterine 1983.
Expedition to Greeneland by Susan Grindley
There was a problem with the spellings
of Yeastrol, or Yeastrel, and Tontons Macoutes.
I was the ofﬁce junior, despatched
with marked-up galley proofs to Albany.
I washed and ironed my hair the night before,
wore my shift dress from Peter Robinson’s
new Top Shop with white stockings and white
patent shoes from Elliott’s of Bond Street.
I’d cracked the secret code to all his books –
women who thought that they were loved were not.
He kept them parked and waiting in the margins,
all that religious stuff – just an excuse.
I didn’t see him. I just left the envelope
with the top-hatted porter at the lodge.
I told them casually back at Production,
‘GG is lunching at his club today.’
© Susan Grindley. The poem is from Susan’s collection New Reader, published by Rack Press; also available from Waterstones, and The London Review Bookshop, 14 Bury Place, London, WC1A.
What a wonderful photo of one of my great heroes. And such a touching and exquisite poem. I have had many meetings in my mind with Graham Greene. I appreciate the painstaking choosing of clothes, and the dignified line of the ending, when we know she was so keen to meet him, then so very disappointed that she didn’t have the experience of his coolness. Not an easy man, but that’s why we like him.