Some support bubbles
Let me speak of a velvet-suited, tousled-haired
Victorian boy sitting besides a Pears’ Soap box
and bubbles rising above his blond head.
Everybody’s seen this old advert at some time.
The painting is at the foot of a staircase
in the V&A or RA, or it was, except—pop—
this wasn’t how Millais painted his grandson.
‘A Child’s World’ is brand-free and it’s been
in the Lever in Port Sunlight for years.
The sheet music from 1918 has a titian-haired
pale-skinned beauty holding four red roses,
her head surrounded by bubbles.
The song was around in music halls
and films forever—pop—
before West Ham made it theirs.
An air bubble in glass is not of much value,
in fact it reduces its worth,
but in glacier ice—pop—
reveals all kinds of useful data.
He tells me that for hours he’s watched
hump-backed whales hunting off Cape Cod
with their bubble nets.
I’m not sure I believe him, but—pop—
am fizzing with jealousy nonetheless.
Pop-pop, pop-pop, pop—
everyone loves playing with bubble wrap.
Pop—Monday was bubble and squeak
and the leavings of Sunday’s roast.
If my parents had a party, a shiny red
soda stream often came into play,
my father busy with the fizzy.
Pop, pop—I prefer the crafted bubbles
of methode champagnoise,
and the drier the better.
Biography: Kate Noakes is a PhD student at the University of Reading researching contemporary British and American poetry. Her most recent collection is The Filthy Quiet (Parhtian, 2019). Goldhawk Road is forthcoming from Two Rivers Press in 2023.