Author Topic: Poems  (Read 7703 times)

Twit 2

  • Penske material
Re: Poems
« Reply #60 on: June 25, 2019, 05:54:46 PM »
Am giving Alice Oswald’s ‘Dart’ a proper go. Something I should have got round to sooner, as I love walking in Dartmoor and know many of the places in the poem. Anyway, it’s an epic bastard of a thing, book-length stream of consciousness (pun intended), with the whiff of Eliot and Joyce about it. Good stuff.

Re: Poems
« Reply #61 on: July 01, 2019, 11:20:58 AM »
Here’s one of my all time favourites, RF Langley’s Videlicet. Total barnstorming triumph:

That was just the one I was going to post. With Langley you're really spoilt for choice but I like him best when he lavishes his attention on tiny phenomena.

To a Nightingale
R. F. Langley

Nothing along the road. But
petals, maybe. Pink behind
and white inside. Nothing but
the coping of a bridge. Mutes
on the bricks, hard as putty,
then, in the sun, as metal.
Burls of Grimmia, hairy,
hoary, with their seed-capsules
uncurling. Red mites bowling
about on the baked lichen
and what look like casual
landings, striped flies, Helina,
Phaonia, could they be?
This month the lemon, I’ll say
primrose-coloured, moths, which flinch
along the hedge then turn in
to hide, are Yellow Shells not
Shaded Broad-bars. Lines waver.
Camptogramma. Heat off the
road and the nick-nack of names.
Scotopteryx. Darkwing. The
flutter. Doubles and blurs the
margin. Fuscous and white. Stop
at nothing. To stop here at
nothing, as a chaffinch sings
interminably, all day.
A chiff-chaff. Purring of two
turtle doves. Voices, and some
vibrate with tenderness. I
say none of this for love. It
is anyone’s giff-gaff. It
is anyone’s quelque chose.
No business of mine. Mites which
ramble. Caterpillars which
curl up as question marks. Then
one note, five times, louder each
time, followed, after a fraught
pause, by a soft cuckle of
wet pebbles, which I could call
a glottal rattle. I am
empty, stopped at nothing, as
I wait for this song to shoot.
The road is rising as it
passes the apple tree and
makes its approach to the bridge.

Re: Poems
« Reply #62 on: July 01, 2019, 11:22:14 AM »
Blues for Titania
R. F. Langley

The beetle runs into the future. He takes
to his heels in an action so frantic its
flicker seems to possess the slowness of deep
water. He has been green. He will be so yet.
His memory ripples emeralds. The wasp
takes it easy. She unpicks her fabric of
yellow and black, which slips from her fingers to
land in the past, loop-holed, lacy, tossed off on
the wing. The beetle is needled right through on
one string. He peels a strip as he packs a shelf.
He is thrilling the grass, and whatever it
means, it is radiantly green like himself. Thus
he will invest again and again in that
same flashy suit. The wasp has forgotten her
costume, but proves herself wise to the ways of
the sun, which are pat on her back. She drops a
curtsy, blows a kiss, and somersaults over
the beetle’s attack. Lost moments swill round in
the shallows, until they can stick there and stack.

The beetle swears it’s a set-up job. Follow
your mouth. Swallow tomorrow. Borrow and bet.
Rivet your eyes on the road, and do what you
said. You run through the beetles you have been, and
insist there are more of the same up ahead.
The wasp says goodbye to those she has never
met. She swirls down to just touch the track, so that
she definitely indicates her shadow,
a generous fellow, who has come on his
own, to join in. He’s an item. And now he’s
close kin. She gives him a hug. Then that’s her in
mid-air and she’s left him. He’s a scoundrel, who
dodges about and grows dim. Neglected. The
necklace has snapped. Scramble for beads. Some of them
still roll and sparkle, prickling the gorse and the
stamens of the bittersweet. This will be the
best place for muttering nonsense. We could meet
anywhere in the wood. Tired in the hawthorn
brake. Tricked by the thick vegetation. Gutted.

A snatch at the clasp and a curse as our prayers
scatter. One of them comes to a stop by a
dazzling white stone. Others tag darker places.
So be it. Snipe lie near small pools, to hide in
their glare. Purple orchids are smuts in the dusk.
A wasp is humming as it investigates
the gravelly foreground, where no gods squat, but
someone pictured an overturned goblet. The
stub of a tree with a kingfisher on it.
Cybele carefully holds up a quince. Now
specialist theatres are opening all
along the hedge. Sparrows adopt passionate
poses in each of them. Detail is so sharp
and so minute that the total form suggests
infinity. Everything. Wincing. Oh, but
thereby, it seems to me, there is infinite
loneliness. Such tons of shingle. If I find
my feet in it, I will walk up and down and
sing, that they shall hear that I am not afraid.

The beetle straightens his jacket to confirm
an initial conception. After all there
are not many cores. The car doors slam behind
his shoulders and he pulls away into the
best, fast synthesis that there is, blazing down
the mid-line, the Roman Street, his heart in his
horn. The wasps and moths and feathers are riff-raff
off the verge. Stuff for his buffet. And isn’t
Isis Demeter? No mysteries in here.
It’s me, hands on the wheel, and capable of
brilliant wristy brushwork, if I rouse out
my conceit across the blur of foliage.
But. Who knows what monsters were revered by the
Egyptians? We must not boast or palter. Don’t
rush the sense, or stagger if it’s true. Ask me
not what. The duke has dined. Three layers of the
lapis, mixed with white lead. The last translucent
glaze, and no golden scumble. Cool and intense.
Guaranteed to be the bluest of the blue.

Twit 2

  • Penske material
Re: Poems
« Reply #63 on: July 01, 2019, 06:24:58 PM »
Good stuff. I recommend reading his journals if you haven’t already.

Twit 2

  • Penske material
Re: Poems
« Reply #64 on: July 13, 2019, 03:33:13 PM »
Reading William Letford, the ‘roofer poet’. He’s like Limmy mixed with William Carlos Williams. He gets a lot of fuss from media darlings for being a working class manual labourer, and true enough his first collection is mostly written in Scots and about working on roofs but it’s also very distinctive and authentic in its own right. Believe the hype.

« Last Edit: July 13, 2019, 03:46:35 PM by Twit 2 »

Twit 2

  • Penske material
Re: Poems
« Reply #65 on: July 20, 2019, 07:38:17 PM »
Reading Denise Riley again:


  • I thought you said KING AAARTHUUUR!
Re: Poems
« Reply #66 on: July 22, 2019, 06:25:42 PM »
Dublinesque by Phillip Larkin

Down stucco sidestreets,
Where light is pewter
And afternoon mist
Brings lights on in shops
Above race-guides and rosaries,
A funeral passes.

The hearse is ahead,
But after there follows
A troop of streetwalkers
In wide flowered hats,
Leg-of-mutton sleeves,
And ankle-length dresses.

There is an air of great friendliness,
As if they were honouring
One they were fond of;
Some caper a few steps,
Skirts held skilfully
(Someone claps time),

And of great sadness also.
As they wend away
A voice is heard singing
Of Kitty, or Katy,
As if the name meant once
All love, all beauty.

Re: Poems
« Reply #67 on: July 22, 2019, 06:28:19 PM »
Alice Oswald has been made Oxford Professor of poetry. Fair play.

Imagine fucking up the paragraph formatting on your Word document and being made the lord of poetry at Oxford.


  • I thought you said KING AAARTHUUUR!
Re: Poems
« Reply #68 on: July 25, 2019, 11:12:55 AM »
Myfanwy by John Betjeman

Kind o’er the kinderbank leans my Myfanwy,
White o’er the playpen the sheen of her dress,
Fresh from the bathroom and soft in the nursery
Soap scented fingers I long to caress.

Were you a prefect and head of your dormit'ry?
Were you a hockey girl, tennis or gym?
Who was your favourite? Who had a crush on you?
Which were the baths where they taught you to swim?

Smooth down the Avenue glitters the bicycle,
Black-stockinged legs under navy blue serge,
Home and Colonial, Star, International,
Balancing bicycle leant on the verge.

Trace me your wheel-tracks, you fortunate bicycle,
Out of the shopping and into the dark,
Back down the avenue, back to the pottingshed,
Back to the house on the fringe of the park.

Golden the light on the locks of Myfanwy,
Golden the light on the book on her knee,
Finger marked pages of Rackham's Hans Anderson,
Time for the children to come down to tea.

Oh! Fullers angel-cake, Robertson’s marmalade,
Liberty lampshade, come shine on us all,
My! what a spread for the friends of Myfanwy,
Some in the alcove and some in the hall.

Then what sardines in half-lighted passages!
Locking of fingers in long hide-and-seek.
You will protect me, my silken Myfanwy,
Ring leader, tom-boy, and chum to the weak.


  • She was having sly love with a midnight creeper
Re: Poems
« Reply #69 on: July 25, 2019, 11:17:17 AM »
Reading William Letford, the ‘roofer poet’. He’s like Limmy mixed with William Carlos Williams. He gets a lot of fuss from media darlings for being a working class manual labourer, and true enough his first collection is mostly written in Scots and about working on roofs but it’s also very distinctive and authentic in its own right. Believe the hype.

Those are great - I love Moths.

Twit 2

  • Penske material
Re: Poems
« Reply #70 on: August 03, 2019, 12:00:40 PM »
I am quite in awe of this Don Paterson poem which in turn is in awe of an obscure Georgian electronic musician. It’s very tongue in cheek but I find the way he mines software jargon for effect absolutely brilliant. At his best Paterson is as good as any poet alive. Certainly the breadth of his knowledge is immense and he’s probably the most well-read poet around, which means he can effortlessly glide between the staggeringly beautiful (his rewritings of Machado, Rilke, Desnos) and the piss-takingly sardonic. This poem reminds me somewhat of the equally good and equally wry ‘A Private Bottling’ from an earlier collection. Anyway, Don Paterson, what a guy. Tempted to say he might even be my hero.