Stephen Robertson

Slanting Lines

Concordance

This concordance provides an index to every word in the poems, excluding a list of common "stopwords".  It may be useful in finding a half-remembered poem, and perhaps in looking at the usage of words in the poems as a whole.  It will be readable only on a large screen.

H

ds.  In this bright green // we wander,
hacking out our paths, or creeping through, // maybe chancing on a hid
e taste mushroom // Do the black boiler
hair belly.  // The day boiler duck is miscellaneous.  //
was forty years ago // —these days his
hair is white all through.) // ‘Every mile is two’? no, hardly thus. 
he wire brush // of David’s thick black
hair , // staying in place until at home // the small gas fire has warm
ears ago.  // One of the legs had rotted
half away.  // But a new piece of four by two turned it into // a perfe
ell // mollycoddle for one day // throw
half away // more flour, water, mix well // mollycoddle for one day //
ell // mollycoddle for one day // throw
half away // more flour, water, mix well // mollycoddle for one day //
ell // mollycoddle for one day // throw
half away // more flour, water, mix well // mollycoddle for one day //
?  No, this is about // a century and a
half before Columbus.  // He is a leader of Flemish weavers, pointing t
your life!  // From the moment almost a
half -century ago // when I first met your daughter // I have known fra
nished or abandoned projects, // pieces
half -constructed or half-deconstructed, // for some architectural or m
jewel lake, // soup-spoon-shaped, still
half -covered // in slowly melting ice.  On the far side // the steep s
projects, // pieces half-constructed or
half -deconstructed, // for some architectural or mechanical purpose //
hitectural or mechanical purpose // now
half -forgotten.  Electrical components.  // A pair of cast-iron support
lying awake or sleeping // or floating
half in half out, I’m sure // it’ll last forever, the light that’s lea
for a wooden curtain pole, // two and a
half inches in diameter (the pole // itself and four-inch rings surely
wake or sleeping // or floating half in
half out, I’m sure // it’ll last forever, the light that’s leaking //
known fragments, snatches— // some now
half -remembered, some long since forgotten— // but nothing that resemb
.  // Apple, pear: // pole-to-pole // in
half then quarters // cut the core from each.  // But no, for once // c
g into // one window; but one young man
half -turned // across the rest, looking with unfocussed eyes // into t
have to wait // another thirteen and a
half years.  //
fires the only heat.  // The lino on the
hall floor had been laid // in nineteen thirty three, the newsprint sa
Iken
Hall // Later, my mother will describe the house itself // as ugly.  N
a messenger.  // I love you.  // Draughty
hall .  Now send a letter.  // Parchment, new quill pen, and ink.  // Empl
ck-clack.  // On holiday by train!  Vast
hall // of city station, noisy, full // of people rushing there and ba
say.  // The houses, and their rooms and
halls // and whether it was night or day; // the gardens, and the gard
py—some shiny erection to // burnish my
halo .  Ah, I have a whim // to build a fine bridge clear across a grea
t.  At last we felt we had to call // a
halt to worry, and agreed to sell // for demolition, move to Camberwel
ve othello; six for king lear; // seven
hamlet ; eight macbeth; nine // for any other choice.  You’ll find // t
ts and holes and scars // from saws and
hammers and screwed-on wood- // and metal-working vices added to those
t the bare flesh of // the back of your
hand as you reach past to pilfer // the clusters beyond, adding scratc
maid // with a comb and a glass in her
hand .  // See the pretty girl in that mirror there— // Who can that att
overhead // as well as actions close at
hand // (the apple said), // to comprehend the universe // both in the
s // of city herbage in city clag // —a
handful of trees, bulbs // and other plants.  // On one // a stately ra
ort to footnotes just to keep a healthy
handle on the case. // * following the example of the chemists and th
stroy.  Did I really // spring from the
hands of the great Praxiteles?  // I cannot now recall.  // No matter! 
by Gaudier-Brzeska, and put it into our
hands ).  She introduced me to so many artists.  As I have visited othe
ort, // patch pockets (useless for cold
hands ), // thick felted wool, a monk-like hood— // and with (the most
crifice, // far away and long ago.  // A
handsome prince will boldly go // and dangers great will bravely face,
rs and fibre sealing rings.  // The jars
hang from their lids, nailed to // the shelf above.  The boxes and tin
rch towards my fate, // or did I merely
hang on by my fingernails // while the tornado raged around me?  // Or
Stages //
Hanging garden.  Send a letter.  // Fresh clay tablet, stylus, scribe.  /
Post truth // ‘Oh Mirror that
hangs on the wall // who is the fairest of all?’  // The mirror’s reply
ree—surely room for one more.  // Now it
happens my old friend is crowned mayor of London, he // goes by the ru
keep me in trim— // now the Gurkhas are
happy —some shiny erection to // burnish my halo.  Ah, I have a whim //
ndwagon he’ll be glad.”  // The Boris is
happy .  “We need a designer with // boldness and vision—I know just th
// The trickle slackens, changes in the
harbour ; // Hear the marsh-birds calling // at the bar the waves are w
lier.  // Later, much later, I limp into
harbour .  My // family playing, completely oblivious.  //
ked by a bolt embedded in // the Newlyn
harbour wall.  // One day, a storm will // simply erase them.  // Four y
; Shippegan Island; Cape Sable // bays;
harbours // One to one million two hundred and fifty thousand:  Low Co
out, a clump of pears whose fruit // is
hard as stone.  (But when stewed overnight // in the oven of the pre-w
no perfectability except our own.  // In
hard cast bronze all hardness now replaced, // the soft and sensuous f
The tide is high, and every wave tries
hard // to breach the wall.  And when it hits just right // the spray
e transient trials pass?  // It’s really
hard to know.  // We have no crystal ball, no glass.  // The light has a
ncer can be blamed // for many things. 
Hard to tell, now, // which failing faculties to place // at its door.
cut straight to synthesis.  // Tried //
hard // to write // a fib on // achievement, but got // only a fib on
ust ahead // goes head over heels // on
hard , unyielding // rocks and stones, // falls back under my feet.  //
r pen or charcoal, // paints in oils on
hardboard .  // — // 1973.  Six-year-old Emily visits.  // At home, two d
howling and shrieking.  // It pushes us
harder , // makes us grow broader and taller, // sweeps spray from our
through.) // ‘Every mile is two’? no,
hardly thus.  // Some miles are ten, while others swiftly pass.  //
rougher.  // Rough softness grows // but
hardness cannot grow.  // Rough softness is too big, // leaves for anot
ers inside hardness.  // Softness grows,
hardness grows too, // spirals round itself, trumpet-like.  // Can this
ept our own.  // In hard cast bronze all
hardness now replaced, // the soft and sensuous flesh joins love’s emb
Carapace // Tiny
hardness on tiny softness.  // Softness crawls over sand and rock // in
rows still, fades away.  // Empty spiral
hardness rests // on the sea-bed.  Forever?  // Another, rougher softne
.  // Sometimes softness shelters inside
hardness .  // Softness grows, hardness grows too, // spirals round itse
// in filtered blue light, // carrying
hardness with it.  // Sometimes softness shelters inside hardness.  // S
this go on forever?  // Empty again, in
harsher light.  // Another softness, giant but gentle.  // Soft digits h
n stately progress pass // destined for
Harwich or for Felixstowe.  //
with her who to her lover’s side makes
haste : // jump willing into every word-filled well.  // That book will
s hat.  // Just fancy that—swallowed his
hat !  // He swallowed his hat to fend off the rain.  // What an odd game
ere was an old fellow who swallowed his
hat .  // Just fancy that—swallowed his hat!  // He swallowed his hat to
et.  // He swallowed the net to trap the
hat .  // Restart for that.  //
—swallowed his hat!  // He swallowed his
hat to fend off the rain.  // What an odd game—to swallow the rain!  //
down the gauntlet // battening down the
hatches // closing down the argument // shutting down the computer //
// On weed-o’er-run Shalott?  // She who
hath this garden laid // —Nurturing the wayward seed, // Planting out
a group of people in evening dress, top
hats and the like, appropriate to some earlier era of the house’s exis
real rope-ladder, which // we can then
haul up behind us, ready // to defend against the next attack.  // Towa
top.  // Bottle of water and lunch in my
haversack .  // Climb by the obvious route from the valley, with // Derw
luice the decks to cool the wood // Way-
hay , blow us away // And pour a bucket on my head // Give me some wind
eel the breathless sun beat down // Way-
hay , blow us away // And seek out any shade we can // Give me some win
// Adrift the middle of the sea // Way-
hay , blow us away // And there is nothing here for me // Give me some
erhaps tomorrow there’ll be wind // Way-
hay , blow us away // And we can some direction find // Give me some wi
// Run all the sails up the mast // Way-
hay , blow us away // But we are bound for nowhere fast // Give me some
Horizon’s clear from end to end // Way-
hay , blow us away // No hope of whistling up a wind // Give me some wi
No wind! we wallow in the swell // Way-
hay , blow us away // The sails clatter as we roll // Give me some wind
radicchio, citron, calluna // brassica,
hay , pelt, dove tale, pigeon // mouse’s back, mole’s or elephant’s bre
day.”  // And yet you stay // inside my
head , and take away my will // to find a way.  // The final fray // rem
blow us away // And pour a bucket on my
head // Give me some wind to blow us away // Perhaps tomorrow there’ll
aw the line // at dropping onto Isaac’s
head .  // His inspiration is not mine // (the apple said).  //
// Don’t waste your time on wild boar’s
head .  // If Aristotle makes you choke // eat me instead.  // My ancesto
Ede (he would pick up a Brancusi stone
head , or a small cut brass piece by Gaudier-Brzeska, and put it into o
lysm?  // Now the one just ahead // goes
head over heels // on hard, unyielding // rocks and stones, // falls b
owl shrimp // Do a boiler burn the duck
head .  // The prefecture of river drives meal chicken, // Olive dish dr
e leg, no tail, but raised high, // and
head thrown back, I can dance.  //
nce that I hear.  // The words within my
head , what do they care?  // They rattle round, and link, and split, an
birds calling // to face the town, runs
headlong for the bar, // Breath the scents the sea-winds bring // beco
The summer fronds // rise far above our
heads .  In this bright green // we wander, hacking out our paths, or c
st** resort to footnotes just to keep a
healthy handle on the case. // * following the example of the chemist
vious rhyme // that even if my audience
hear it spoken aloud rather than seeing it on the page they will certa
is never still.  Even in my sleep // I
hear the ground-swell gently break and sift, // pushing the shingle ba
// Across the wood, onto the beach.  We
hear // the gulls, and faintly, far away, the churn // of waves upon t
their lines.  The bows face seaward //
Hear the marsh-birds calling // against the current pushing strongly t
le slackens, changes in the harbour; //
Hear the marsh-birds calling // at the bar the waves are washing over.
mudflats and the sandbanks.  Listing //
Hear the marsh-birds calling // boats are stranded at their stations,
he rising waters reach and lift them //
Hear the marsh-birds calling // echoes of the distant sea-swell rock t
de begins its steady, slow accretion //
Hear the marsh-birds calling // in places it has lost, reoccupation //
makes another lingering turn, begins //
Hear the marsh-birds calling // retreating back the way it came, regai
e is out, the creek a gentle trickle //
Hear the marsh-birds calling // the drying sand with muddy spots bespe
el, turns the boats around once more //
Hear the marsh-birds calling // to face the town, runs headlong for th
n the saltmarsh channels water rises //
Hear the marsh-birds calling // to the edges of the sea-grass—pauses,
es a trickle.  On the soft, receding //
Hear the marsh-birds calling // water’s edge, the birds are searching,
oftness // and soft voice says // I can
hear the sea.  //
No voices in the almost-silence that I
hear , // the soft subliminal sibilance of night.  // Even I, atheist, f
No voices in the almost-silence that I
hear , // the soft subliminal sibilance of night, // no words, no human
no voices in the almost-silence that I
hear .  // The words within my head, what do they care?  // They rattle r
// rearing up, up, turning over // and
hear them crashing down.  // What is this cataclysm?  // Now the one jus
to find // tried to forget // tried to
hear // tried to ignore // tried to learn // tried to live // tried to
t absence, still // to find a way.  // I
hear you say, // “But life is for the living, do not kill // another d
find.  // — // A writer read, a speaker
heard , // at every word a choice has made.  // Those that they choose t
o can that attactive girl be?  // I have
heard the mermaids singing, each to each.  // I do not think that they
the world just so, // a pretty maiden,
heart aglow // will sit and spin, so full of grace, // far away and lo
saxophonist left behind.  // This is the
heat -death of the universe; // the restaurant has closed, // and that
lit // by gas, with open fires the only
heat .  // The lino on the hall floor had been laid // in nineteen thirt
ange and penny.  // Brandy, a candle:  //
heat till it catches fire, // pour out the blue flame.  // After lunch,
f the blaze.  // Even now, // I feel the
heat upon my face.  // Twenty three years later, when my mother died //
barbed, // reaching out to colonise the
heath , // at war with the bracken.  // No fruit here—the thorns will ca
mmer’s brown bracken // that covers the
heath .  // On magic carpet // the Prince of Crim Tartary // flies into
the fir-trees lies // a bracken-covered
heath .  The summer fronds // rise far above our heads.  In this bright
ld winds of autumn, on the wild Suffolk
heath , // the wild Suffolk blackberries // of my childhood remain fore
e wall slanting across the moor, // the
heather and the bracken, the moss, the lichen, // the cropped grass, t
some buses which boosted my ego—the //
Heatherwick’s sure to produce a fine plan.  // We also need money—of co
silly, that’s just the plumbing—a pipe
heating up.  // That breath of air?  A passing presence?  // Don’t be si
ot paying attention, I // stumble, fall
heavily forward and land with my // shin on a knife-edge of rock that
he scars // to prove it.  // Blitz.  The
heavy bombers, lighter now, // are droning back towards their bases, /
er the road.) Sometimes at night, // a
heavy goods train rattles the windows and plates // on the shelves.  L
he all-clear // Five days after Charlie
Hebdo , I learn // that something is growing at the tail end of my colo
do raged around me?  // Or was it just a
hedge , backwards?  // Yesterday I was told: it looks clear.  // So life
they know, the rain and the air?  // The
hedgerow , the field, the rapeseed and the corn.  // The five-bar gate,
kempt.  Buzzards fly // Above the weedy
hedgerows , by // The once-proud towers of Camelot.  // Few people walk
edgerows.  // We love the flowers in the
hedgerows // no matter what the season of the year.  // At any time or
g too fast // to see the flowers in the
hedgerows .  // We love the flowers in the hedgerows // no matter what t
ow the one just ahead // goes head over
heels // on hard, unyielding // rocks and stones, // falls back under
y and lodgers.  Daughter born // at the
height of the Luftwaffe’s // blitz on Sheffield.  // In north Africa, D
observed that her natu- // ral son and
heir // was Tony Blair.  // Nigel Farrage // has a mouth like a garage—
is staggering and stumbling— // how in
hell did he evade the line?  // Oh bugger!  Now we have to get away.  //
t’s … omigod, it’s a cockroach!  Help! 
Help !  //
y new disease.  // They seem to want our
help , but they can whistle // as well for wind: we care not a tittle. 
ly, that’s … omigod, it’s a cockroach! 
Help !  Help!  //
them with me wherever I wander… but //
help !  They are missing, I must have mislaid them when // finding my w
e kettle through the spout as this will
help to reduce the amount of limescale that builds up on the filter.
That tiny movement in the corner?  The
hem of an emerging apparition?  // Don’t be silly, that’s … omigod, it’
o perfectability except our own.  // But
Henri’s pieces rattle too and shake // our sense of part and whole, ne
g two small raised triangles // of city
herbage in city clag // —a handful of trees, bulbs // and other plants
alking: can we doubt // that somewhere
herein lies some deep philosophy?  // Voices, ipods, phones speak out—
nding her cabbage patch forever, // The
hermit of Shalott.  //
r-Müller museum outside Amsterdam.  The
Hermitage in Leningrad in Soviet days.  Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge whe
, felt cheated by // that twenty-minute
hiatus .  // But the fire bore us no grudge, // and welcomed us back int
t against this, a certain toughness, //
hidden , but evident in the number, // best expressed Roman fashion:  //
reeping through, // maybe chancing on a
hidden hollow which // will make a temporary home, until // the next a
// A seven-mile climb // brings us to a
hidden jewel lake, // soup-spoon-shaped, still half-covered // in slow
dshanks, godwits, curlews search // for
hidden treasure, long beaks buried full // to probe deep down beneath
oured flower into coloured flesh // and
hide a secret inside.  // Feel the air.  Turn in the four winds.  Broadca
old pair somewhere on one of the passes
high above Borrowdale in what was then still Westmorland.  It wasn’t v
let of the winter storm.  // The tide is
high , and every wave tries hard // to breach the wall.  And when it hi
h no arms, one leg, no tail, but raised
high , // and head thrown back, I can dance.  //
ve // casts patterns of light on the //
high bedroom ceiling.  //
reviewed // in magazines, on billboards
high displayed, // each model posed in languid attitude, // in birthda
d shingle, perhaps // (when the tide is
high enough) // as far the cliff.  The wind // whips the spume // into
air of cast-iron supports for an old //
high -level lavatory cistern, wonderfully // ornate.  A pump and valves
row stream // open moor // deep lake //
high mountain // wide sea // close forest // by lake and stream // by
Sharp lines //
High overhead, the geese are flying out // on their twice-a-day migrat
the dominant sound // is continuous and
high -pitched.  The borders we cross are eastward: // under the channel
Reflections //
High up above, at the edges of the air // and the beginning of space /
, not June.  // A red balloon, // way up
high , // with crescent moon // from cold immune.  // Let snow lie, // i
ter, // disturbing our roll, // getting
higher and closer.  // And the noise.  // A few ranks ahead, I see them
rm air, // clear to my vantage point on
higher ground.  // Voices far across the valley sound.  // The hills ran
mains of trees // that once grew on the
hill above, // and bits of buildings, human artifacts.  // Geological t
cross the creek // and had a go at East
Hills .  // A once in a century storm, // that was thought to be.  // So
light-beams almost horizontal; // East
Hills aglow.  // Winds moaning round the corners and the rooftops, // r
r jewels; just the old // and weathered
hills , created by some force // beyond imagination; and of course // e
ion // Yes, there will be more.  // More
hills , dales, crags, beaches // more boat or cycle rides // more walks
/ reiterates a pattern // as old as the
hills // each iteration // shifts the sand, carves the coastline // in
East
Hills // Hills?  Well, dunes // maybe two or three metres above // mea
ces far across the valley sound.  // The
hills ranged all around // —they little care.  // Voices far across the
, valleys, moors and dales, meadows, //
hills , ravines descending, under the sky.  // Oceans, rivers, narrow ch
East Hills //
Hills ?  Well, dunes // maybe two or three metres above // mean sea lev
all?’  // The mirror’s reply // with no
hint of a sigh // is to show him his face, warts and all.  //
xample:  Judith Shea’s sculpture in the
Hirschhorn in Washington, close to a version of Rodin’s Balzac, and ca
s // a real live snake, standing up and
hissing // at our approach.  We turn tail and flee // as fast as breat
offee cups // more tragedies, comedies,
histories // more shapes, more colours, more darknesses // more storms
found some common course, // or bend or
hitch or bead?  // Some earlier occasion when // our life-lines must ha
/ North by northwest?  That was just //
Hitchcock’s joke.  //
no, newspaper // dated 1933 // the year
Hitler came to power).  // Then we get on with our lives: // the repain
ard // to breach the wall.  And when it
hits just right // the spray rises a mile into the air // (or so it se
far away, // the thud as one more apple
hits the muddy grass.  // Winds bowling through trees // fruit-laden bo
Take care not to spill // your precious
hoard (I mean the ones you will deliver // for tomorrow’s blackberry-a
But perhaps instead I will go the whole
hog , the full nine yards: turn the paper onto its side and write each
ery word-filled well.  // That book will
hold against your ear a shell // whose music makes your languid pulses
crust, you think // ‘This time, it will
hold my weight.’  // But every step it drops you down // into soft snow
tness, giant but gentle.  // Soft digits
hold softly, lift softly // place softly against another softness // a
ast lives there.  // An inflated bulb to
hold // the other two in place.  // Subjective // Discomfort.  Bother. 
nture.  // (One time, though, the hollow
holds // a real live snake, standing up and hissing // at our approach
ng there?  // Some object or event which
holds her stare?  // Or is it just the clarity of light, the glowing //
at defence // drops thirty feet into a
hole .  // One cold winter’s afternoon // we walk to the edge of town an
the Channel Tunnel link.  // A monstrous
hole , quite big enough to eat // the park and all the houses down the
Rail announced that it would sink // a
hole to build the Channel Tunnel link.  // A monstrous hole, quite big
nto // a perfect workbench—the cuts and
holes and scars // from saws and hammers and screwed-on wood- // and m
eys go: click-clack click-clack.  // On
holiday by train!  Vast hall // of city station, noisy, full // of peo
On Skiddaw //
Holiday cottage, the edge of the Lake District— // family wanting to r
e.  // And so, for two successive summer
holidays , // we chopped and sawed and dug and then set fire to // the
xt adventure.  // (One time, though, the
hollow holds // a real live snake, standing up and hissing // at our a
f ancient oaks // (one blasted trunk is
hollow through, and can be climbed // inside) mark out the sandy/grass
through, // maybe chancing on a hidden
hollow which // will make a temporary home, until // the next adventur
spray, // coursing the straits and the
hollows , // meandering across meadows, // from a spring it flows to th
/ Perhaps I should plant // some box or
holly .  //
the glazed back door // through box and
holly grown to full maturity // to an iron-gated pointed arch // pierc
the produce of our labours.  // A box or
holly root, smouldering slowly, // will burn for ever.  The fire once
eathered Cotswold stone.  // The box and
holly // were magnificent, but could not be allowed // to remain in oc
s perfect knot // and find ourselves at
home .  //
tness is too big, // leaves for another
home .  // Another rough softness.  // Can this go on forever?  // Empty a
that line the shelves, // and close to
home as well: they too can be // as dumb as all of us, the gods themse
e new beginning: // a different kind of
home // here on the north Norfolk coast.  // The wonder is that you can
e last days of pain, // another summer,
home in Camberwell.  // Between the endpoints there were many days // —
evel.  // And where’s that, when it’s at
home ?  // It’s a level that the tide rushes past // on its way up and a
young fellow rambler.  // Marry, find a
home // on the very edge of Sheffield // facing the Derbyshire moors. 
donated // the reject to us for our new
home .  Or was it // not until seven years later, the year that her fir
ses fly.  // It’s Jan, not June.  // Back
home soon // warm and dry.  // A crescent moon.  // It’s Jan, not June. 
lack hair, // staying in place until at
home // the small gas fire has warmed the room // against the cold out
1973.  Six-year-old Emily visits.  // At
home , two days later, // she says to her dad // “Judith is a painter,
n hollow which // will make a temporary
home , until // the next adventure.  // (One time, though, the hollow ho
nds), // thick felted wool, a monk-like
hood — // and with (the most important thing) // those wooden toggles,
// That’s not in the book, to swallow a
hook .  // He swallowed the hook to recover the net.  // You’d scarcely b
// He swallowed the string to catch the
hook .  // That’s not in the book, to swallow a hook.  // He swallowed th
to swallow a hook.  // He swallowed the
hook to recover the net.  // You’d scarcely bet he’d swallow a net.  //
he door.  // Tables, shelves, cupboards,
hooks , drawers.  // Places I wouldn’t have put them.  // Move anything t
s // masonry nails, screw-eyes, picture
hooks // wallplugs, rivets, self-tapping metal screws, // rubber tap w
rs // and nuts and bolts and screws and
hooks // were saved from all sorts of deconstructed // objects: defunc
the Société des Apaches // (or Bunch of
Hooligans ) // later to enrol, when they come to Paris // Manuel de Fal
maining, or // should I stay put in the
hope of a rescuer?  // Slowly I realise the pain is subsiding, the // l
d to end // Way-hay, blow us away // No
hope of whistling up a wind // Give me some wind to blow us away // Ad
or.  // It really is very annoying— // I
hope we don’t lose any more.  // Three of our cushions are missing.  //
Hopper Chōka // Yellow neon light // spilling through plate-glass wind
orever.  // At intervals along the south
horizon // container ships in stately progress pass // destined for Ha
d us, low, // yellow light-beams almost
horizontal ; // East Hills aglow.  // Winds moaning round the corners an
the sixth and seventh periods, short of
horizontal space, // we must** resort to footnotes just to keep a heal
// Give me some wind to blow us away //
Horizon’s clear from end to end // Way-hay, blow us away // No hope of
ll be my wound.  // I am transfixed as a
horned goat // charges towards me // from beyond the pale, under my gu
/ On one // a stately ram, great curved
horns // stands tense, alert and staring.  A few // feet away, a sheep
/ In rollicking verse // On a galloping
horse — // But Aix was as far as he went.  // In Friday Market square //
indow pane.  // There was an overcrowded
hospital .  // There were the children to look after— // there was no ch
the thunder said // Under canvas // In
hospital // Voices far across the valley sound // through still, warm
rom the sun, // bright spot, turn white
hot and burn.  //
.  // Bright // spot // turn // white //
hot // and burn.  // Bend the light just so // above, below, left and r
f stuff? // —spinning around one of the
hot yellow bits // way out here in the remoter backwaters // of the we
ain: // the start, the lobby of a Greek
hotel // in summer, where we met and all was well; // the end, the mom
that he could without worry // take the
hottest Currie.  // Gordon Brown // replaced his frown // with a one-si
alectic // In the lecture room // Small
hour // December sounds // What the thunder said // Under canvas // In
.  // It’s becoming quite clear that the
hour // for soft pussy-footing is past.  // It can’t be a student or fe
s again.  // One afternoon for one brief
hour // the air is warm enough to melt // the topmost layer.  The fros
— // But he was dead: // had died three
hours after his arrival, // was buried in an unmarked grave.  // There
en’t passed walkers for more than three
hours now.  // When are they likely to send out a search party?  // Prob
’s outer edge, contains our own // tree-
house , a canted deck of ancient planks, // nailed across two angled br
as been ploughed, the edges fenced, the
house // demolished and rebuilt.  The trees remain.  //
// producing six of us.  // L-shaped the
house ; enclosed within its arms // a walled garden, left untended // f
fire for a while // to take him to the
house .  // I always regretted, felt cheated by // that twenty-minute hi
. // The sitting room of our
house in Peckham, the walls stripped and undecorated, but with marks a
—1991 // Of eighteen sixty vintage, the
house is flat // in face, no sign of the deep bay windows that // ador
l // Later, my mother will describe the
house itself // as ugly.  No such thought would cross my five- // or e
ch // piercing the wall, built like the
house // of weathered Cotswold stone.  // The box and holly // were mag
rush marks in a darker paint, made by a
house -painter cleaning his brush after painting some woodwork.  Judith
s // were scrapped and redesigned.  The
house still stands.) //
don, 1969.  // A small Victorian terrace
house // stuccoed and flat-fronted.  // No electricity— // gas lighting
this: // the large, dilapidated country
house // that is my mother’s next big venture after // producing six o
in // the damp basement of the Peckham
house // that we bought some forty years ago.  // One of the legs had r
s, not to feel safe // until inside the
house .) // The bracken spreads across a gentle slope // towards the ri
s worth another try.  A son.  // Council
house the other side of Sheffield.  // Polish husband transforms into /
of nine.  // In nineteen sixty nine the
house was lit // by gas, with open fires the only heat.  // The lino on
ts of deconstructed // objects: defunct
household gadgets, // broken furniture, shelves no longer // serving a
Housepaint // The depths of south London, 1969.  // A small Victorian t
rugs or floors?  // I cannot say.  // The
houses , and their rooms and halls // and whether it was night or day;
g enough to eat // the park and all the
houses down the street.  // We joined the local protest, but to small /
leaded gully.  // The street between the
houses , the streetlight, // the sign on the wall, the sign on the post
Road; Sherlock Court; Sherlock Close //
houses ; yards; curbs // One to fifty:  Ground floor // Bedroom 2; Bathr
appropriate to some earlier era of the
house’s existence.  We left the room unpainted for the best part of th
right.  And rising left // the Cape Cod
house’s painted clapboard side.  // At centre, as if growing from the c
arblers, song-birds, // waders, hunters
hovering under the sky.  // People, people round the world—and I, // ro
diately in front.  // The wind is angry,
howling and shrieking.  // It pushes us harder, // makes us grow broade
right, or black and white, // or autumn
hues , or shades of grey— // the colours that I saw last night // just
noises permeate the air // with voices
human , animal, machine.  // An owl, a leaping fish, a fox afar— // nigh
noises permeate the air // with voices
human , animal, machine.  // Voices from the curtained bed next door:  //
e hill above, // and bits of buildings,
human artifacts.  // Geological time // is foreshortened.  This is now,
nal sibilance of night, // no words, no
human language in my ear, // no voices in the almost-silence that I he
ngéd dragon, flying low, // will seek a
human sacrifice, // far away and long ago.  // A handsome prince will b
eshortened.  This is now, here, // real
human time.  //
ays; harbours // One to one million two
hundred and fifty thousand:  Low Countries // Gelderland; Glabbeek; Gr
measured // a century ago and // three
hundred and forty miles // to the south-west: // marked by a bolt embe
January Nineteen
Hundred and One // The century turns.  // Right on cue, Queen Victoria
urbations; drained land // One to three
hundred and sixteen thousand eight hundred:  Scotland // Dufftown; Dee
es // One to sixty three thousand three
hundred and sixty:  Truro and Falmouth // Mevagissey; Mingoose; Mabe Bu
aircases; playing fields // One to five
hundred :  Block plan // Sherlock Road; Sherlock Court; Sherlock Close /
year mountain // hundred-year forest //
hundred -million-year sea // ten-thousand-year lake // thousand-year st
hree hundred and sixteen thousand eight
hundred :  Scotland // Dufftown; Deeside; Dumfries // roads; villages /
my night // it pulls the final prop.  A
hundred yards // of man’s best effort at defence // drops thirty feet
ar moor // ten-million-year mountain //
hundred -year forest // hundred-million-year sea // ten-thousand-year l
o out the back.  // On the cornices // a
hundred years of whitewash.  // We wire from scratch, // plumb, strip e
Shakespeareline. // * pronounced ’four
hundred ’ //
es, and D is now called up.  // First to
Hunmanby on the north-east Yorkshire coast // for the requisite square
, band of salt-marsh // where barn-owls
hunt their prey.  But not for long // —impermanence’s permanence the r
ppers, warblers, song-birds, // waders,
hunters hovering under the sky.  // People, people round the world—and
the other side of Sheffield.  // Polish
husband transforms into // Yorkshire male, expecting // tea on the tab