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.

L

F.B.
L // london clay, blackened, arsenic // railings, pointing, down pipe,
enture after // producing six of us.  //
L -shaped the house; enclosed within its arms // a walled garden, left
t // (Girton student 1880s) // builds a
lab in her garden // in Reigate, on her way to // recognition, fellows
// Girton College 1913).  // The Reigate
lab , of course // has a source // of pure water: a still.  // Garden s
strips // carefully cut and glued.  And
labelled the front— // Nails: tacks, panel pins, ovals and round; // S
t, // Emily Thornberry’s // photo gives
Labour a // cardiovascular // seismic event.  //
then set fire to // the produce of our
labours .  // A box or holly root, smouldering slowly, // will burn for
empest // please press one; for love’s
labour’s lost // press two; or three for cymbelline; // the merry wive
e trunk // or (better) by the real rope-
ladder , which // we can then haul up behind us, ready // to defend aga
// Winds bowling through trees // fruit-
laden boughs bent to earth // apples in the grass //
Troubled waters // The good
Lady Lumley is pondering glumly.  “I // need a new project to keep me
And take her place in service to // The
Lady of Shalott.  // Working all day at her loom, // Her mistress never
out this cabbage-bed— // She was once a
lady’s maid // In gracious, towered Camelot.  // Then, as winds of fort
The
Lady’s Maid // Under a gray and lowering sky // The fields that by the
our toes.  Across the river // lies the
lagoon , a field flooded and then left // to the encroaching mud.  On t
Bastille; Ormeaux on Rioja; Ormeaux on
Lagoon // taps; pipes // One to one // You are here //
w lie, // it’s Jan, not June.  // A blue
lagoon , // the deep blue sky.  // The crescent moon // some cryptic run
// The lino on the hall floor had been
laid // in nineteen thirty three, the newsprint said.  // The previous
un Shalott?  // She who hath this garden
laid // —Nurturing the wayward seed, // Planting out this cabbage-bed—
any years, decades, centuries // have I
lain upon this sandy seafloor?  // I cannot now recall.  // Up there are
ntain // wide sea // close forest // by
lake and stream // by forest and moor // from sea to mountain to sea /
choppy sea // swirling stream // smooth
lake // dense forest // rough moor // million-year moor // ten-million
daw // Holiday cottage, the edge of the
Lake District— // family wanting to rest and recuperate.  // Skiddaw is
m // narrow stream // open moor // deep
lake // high mountain // wide sea // close forest // by lake and strea
r // changing sea // blue sea // silver
lake // purple moor // green forest // clear stream // grey mountain /
rugged moor // sharp mountain // still
lake // resting lake // rustling forest // tumbling mountain // runnin
sharp mountain // still lake // resting
lake // rustling forest // tumbling mountain // running stream // ramb
le climb // brings us to a hidden jewel
lake , // soup-spoon-shaped, still half-covered // in slowly melting ic
Emerald
Lake // The winding trails // through forests waking to the spring //
d-million-year sea // ten-thousand-year
lake // thousand-year stream // narrow stream // open moor // deep lak
feet away, a sheep, cowering // —and a
lamb , sensing danger // suckling.  // On the other // the source of dan
elation // by tying beta up with mu and
lambda .  // I can’t see clearly:  I’ll need to wander // some way in th
l shapes and sizes of New Yorkers, like
lambs .  It is a memory that Judith treasures for the rest of her life.
g its way across the floor.  // From the
lamp on the landing it’s spilling, seeping // under the door, // sendi
a summer spin— // and liked a lass from
Lancashire ; // so milk-white was her skin.  // In Cheddar Gorge the cha
ily singing on his way // Rode bold Sir
Lancelot .  // Years have passed.  The winter’s chill // Lies fast upon
e set sail // and our ship not far from
land // (Navigation was always a difficult art, // Though with only on
k; Gramsbergen // conurbations; drained
land // One to three hundred and sixteen thousand eight hundred:  Scot
he winter’s chill // Lies fast upon the
land so ill.  // Seldom now the skylark’s trill; // No longer do the pe
n which I’m caught.  // But through this
land , this country I must go— // I’d paint it for you if I had the art
ch I must survive; // It’s through this
land , this country that I go.  // It’s likely different from the one yo
I // stumble, fall heavily forward and
land with my // shin on a knife-edge of rock that protrudes from the /
ross the floor.  // From the lamp on the
landing it’s spilling, seeping // under the door, // sending delicate
Landing light // Under the door the glow is peeking, // feeling its wa
know but little // across so many alien
lands and seas // some people have some nasty new disease.  // They see
war?  // I cannot now recall.  // On the
lands bordering the Mediterranean, // empires rise and fall.  Battles
t door, // a motorcycle coursing up the
lane .  // Night-time noises permeate the air // with voices human, anim
s // just slipped away.  // What country
lanes or city streets— // and who were my companions, pray?  // Old fri
bilance of night, // no words, no human
language in my ear, // no voices in the almost-silence that I hear.  //
high displayed, // each model posed in
languid attitude, // in birthday suit and little else arrayed?  // I th
r ear a shell // whose music makes your
languid pulses race: // fall, fall into the writer’s well-cast spell. 
sy Apple // app, coy sale.  // Aye, cops
lap // a clay pope’s // soapy place.  // So apply, ace: // scope a play
he warmth of the fire, // listen to the
lapping of the water, // and gaze into space.  // We have the space //
e you.  // Wi-fi café.  Send a letter.  //
Laptop , plug in power socket.  // Click to send.  // I love you.  //
behind a swirling wake.  // Nearer, the
lapwings forage up the beach.  // At water’s edge the oyster-catchers,
comprehend the universe // both in the
large and in the small, // to learn (for better or for worse) // what
ound; // Screws: small, size 6, size 8,
large .  // Beside it stands another of much later age: // a plastic che
not sex but fire).  // See this: // the
large , dilapidated country house // that is my mother’s next big ventu
egories in boxes, jars and tins: // the
larger bolts and nuts and washers, // flooring nails, staples, cuphook
el looking-glass that will never show a
lass // As comely or as kindly or as young as what she was!) // I am n
er // for a summer spin— // and liked a
lass from Lancashire; // so milk-white was her skin.  // In Cheddar Gor
heering: // that while the past // will
last and last, // the future is fast disappearing.  //
fixed // while the long night’s images
last , // but notched on the stick // as the day slides into the mist. 
to the mist.  // The long night’s images
last .  // But now the light is fading // as the day slides into the mis
med to drain // away from you, in those
last days of pain, // another summer, home in Camberwell.  // Between t
for ever.  The fire once begun // would
last for days and days.  Each morning I came down, // expecting to fin
e’s permanence the rule.  // Change will
last forever.  // At intervals along the south horizon // container shi
ing half in half out, I’m sure // it’ll
last forever, the light that’s leaking // under the door.  //
roast // embers warm // flames gone //
last glow // embers warm // fading now // last glow // tiny light // f
st glow // embers warm // fading now //
last glow // tiny light // fading now // dark night //
/ And when we parted, did we say // our
last goodbyes, or maybe they // just slipped away— // I cannot say.  //
nside a tube inside a tube // —only the
last lives there.  // An inflated bulb to hold // the other two in plac
ades of grey— // the colours that I saw
last night // just slipped away.  // Through passages or corridors // l
r belongings with you, // and could the
last person to alight please switch off the lights.  // This departure
The last post has been sounded.  // The
last post has been collected.  // The last word has been had.  // Nothin
rs, this is the end of the line.  // The
last post has been sounded.  // The last post has been collected.  // Th
// at some acute, unmeasured angle.  //
Last September, meeting you.  // The world looks different now.  //
taurant has closed, // and that was the
last syllabub of recorded time.  // From the bottom of the barrel // th
// that while the past // will last and
last , // the future is fast disappearing.  //
al protest, but to small // effect.  At
last we felt we had to call // a halt to worry, and agreed to sell //
he last post has been collected.  // The
last word has been had.  // Nothing remains // but the fuzzy end of the
he great Michelangelo // makes his work
lasting by carving in stone— // me, I’m not looking for such immortali
uel // and built a roaring blaze.  Then
late into the night // I fed it all the bits that it had missed: // fr
ge.  // Beside it stands another of much
later age: // a plastic chest with small, clear plastic drawers // —un
tion, move to Camberwell.  // (Two weeks
later , British Rail’s plans // were scrapped and redesigned.  The hous
e scree so much earlier.  // Later, much
later , I limp into harbour.  My // family playing, completely obliviou
the deep bay windows that // adorn most
later London terraced fronts.  // One of a block of four, it had been o
y through the scree so much earlier.  //
Later , much later, I limp into harbour.  My // family playing, complet
Iken Hall //
Later , my mother will describe the house itself // as ugly.  No such t
ld.  // In north Africa, D is killed.  //
Later , one of the lodgers— // Polish serviceman and refugee— // is wor
en them // or down to earth.  // Seconds
later , over the drumming rain, // a sharp wall of sound.  // Later stil
-old Emily visits.  // At home, two days
later , // she says to her dad // “Judith is a painter, isn’t she?”  //
ming rain, // a sharp wall of sound.  //
Later still, after the storm has passed // lie back on the wet beach /
re-edged, blots out the setting sun.  //
Later , the clouds amass: // watch now: if you blink you will miss // t
windows and plates // on the shelves. 
Later , the local rumour states // that the train is carrying nuclear w
me.  Or was it // not until seven years
later , the year that her first // grandchild arrived?  I can’t quite r
s Apaches // (or Bunch of Hooligans) //
later to enrol, when they come to Paris // Manuel de Falla and Igor St
sh back down— // you must be nimble.  //
Later we discover // that that was just a sideshow: all the while //
he memory we needed.  // So three months
later , we met again // on a Suffolk shingle beach.  // In November the
and why people have // funeral pyres.)
Later we scatter the ashes // in a wild part of the old South London c
eat upon my face.  // Twenty three years
later , when my mother died // we had the proper formal funeral.  // (Sh
Sharpness // The
latest growths are long and barbed, // reaching out to colonise the he
mind’s tongue.  Why is it that // this
latter -day fruit so often disappoints?  // Did I just dream the taste? 
ss-cross checks and grids and patterned
lattices of life // through glasses, darkly.  // —A fragment, formulate
st.  // The wonder is that you can still
laugh .  //
Nearly-five-year-old Colin // needed a
lavatory , and I had to leave the fire for a while // to take him to th
-iron supports for an old // high-level
lavatory cistern, wonderfully // ornate.  A pump and valves from a was
rts // One to five million:  Gulf of St
Lawrence // Shickshock Mountains; Shippegan Island; Cape Sable // bays
ea // Lose pay cap, // O palace spy.  //
Lay pop case // plea as copy.  // Ape calypso // place, so pay // a cos
l report // Turns out† that the seventh
layer consists mostly of ones that do not exist // but need‡ to be syn
t even have proper names.  // The eighth
layer has not been started yet, so the only thing to do about // it is
e is sparse, but every second period or
layer , // like the bard from Japan whose verses never would scan, adds
r is warm enough to melt // the topmost
layer .  The frost returns // to make a crust.  The next two months //
// we let each thread unroll behind, //
laying down the past— // until the day, just nine months gone, // when
way is clear.  This formulation // both
lays the problem out and then reveals // the parts of a solution.  // A
elephone wires through the pane // loop
lazily along and then // greet each pole like a jumping jack.  // The b
t // The quick brown fox jumps over the
lazy dog //
e day.  // You dance to my tune, // I’ll
lead .”  But come June // it turns out she has feet of clay.  // My cont
roof, the ridgetiles, the leaves in the
leaded gully.  // The street between the houses, the streetlight, // th
and a half before Columbus.  // He is a
leader of Flemish weavers, pointing the rest // towards their major so
ights, buzzers, plugs // and connecting
leads .  Another pair // of brackets, this time for a wooden curtain po
maybe thirty years.  A winding path //
leads from the glazed back door // through box and holly grown to full
air.  // Beyond the scree the open path
leads on, // a gentler walk, to bare bleak Malham Tarn.  // Then back t
live dish dried meat floss stir fries a
leaf mustard.  // The small bowl of wedding reception stews bean bubble
// it’ll last forever, the light that’s
leaking // under the door.  //
thirties; // two taps; one loo // in a
lean -to out the back.  // On the cornices // a hundred years of whitewa
// the room we glimpse inside.  A woman
leans // upon a table in the window, looks // out into sunlight, over
mp, or was I pulled or pushed?  // Did I
leap a chasm, ford a raging torrent, // get rolled over by an avalanch
// flames creep // move apart // flames
leap // flames creep // growing bright // flames leap // sparks take f
lames creep // growing bright // flames
leap // sparks take flight // growing bright // throw on timber // spa
es human, animal, machine.  // An owl, a
leaping fish, a fox afar— // night-time noises permeate the air.  // So
or, four; // five othello; six for king
lear ; // seven hamlet; eight macbeth; nine // for any other choice.  Y
// what moves us all.  // From me you’ll
learn before a book.  // Don’t waste your time on wild boar’s head.  //
th in the large and in the small, // to
learn (for better or for worse) // what moves us all.  // From me you’l
ear // Five days after Charlie Hebdo, I
learn // that something is growing at the tail end of my colon: // pro
to hear // tried to ignore // tried to
learn // tried to live // tried to love // tried to make // tried to m
on long after his colours have gone; //
learning his lesson, the great Michelangelo // makes his work lasting
as we lived and loved and gained // and
learnt and gave and lost, // we let each thread unroll behind, // layi
it seems a poor // fit for me, it is at
least a Fire.  // The others too I love—Earth, Water, Air—but Fire // i
elease— // until the following night at
least .  // Odysseus' sirens, of course // can offer no such message.  T
all, // following, if not a line, // at
least some vague direction.  // Once in a while, though, they seem // t
id refract // The one before it into at
least two.  //
steps to reach the valley floor— // to
leave behind, for now, the wilder moor.  // The treasures to be found a
eversals—these as well.  // But we shall
leave such counterpoints behind us: // time will tell.  // Those are no
olin // needed a lavatory, and I had to
leave the fire for a while // to take him to the house.  // I always re
// equatorially // squeeze the juice //
leave the pith and pips.  // Papaya, melon: // pole-to-pole // scoop ou
grow.  // Rough softness is too big, //
leaves for another home.  // Another rough softness.  // Can this go on
e air?  // The roof, the ridgetiles, the
leaves in the leaded gully.  // The street between the houses, the stre
owling on, // trees bending, dark green
leaves showing // their lighter backs, a few edging // towards the bro
adleaf trees with twisted limbs // shed
leaves with perfect sculpted edges.  // A bramble sends great arcing sh
a join // with the neighbouring block,
leaving a row of nine.  // In nineteen sixty nine the house was lit //
hes us, then flips away, // dives deep,
leaving behind a swirling wake.  // Nearer, the lapwings forage up the
marsh // carve out sections of bank //
leaving sharp cliffs of compacted mud.  // Evening.  A great dark cloud
er road.  The pavements // curl around,
leaving two small raised triangles // of city herbage in city clag //
is the earth, // time lives in fire, //
leaving us the water and the air.  //
top deck of a 68 // Dialectic // In the
lecture room // Small hour // December sounds // What the thunder said
ered edges // Skinny rats sniff out the
ledges , // While between the stream-floor ridges // Now a bottom-feede
sea.  // Along the muddy margins, in the
lee // of the sea-wall, around the bladder-wrack, // long-legged wader
s may need some clipping, shortening //
left alone they easily win—but // there was an old man called Michael
he light // just so // above, below, //
left and right.  // Focus in, // each ray // trapped on its way // from
Bend the light just so // above, below,
left and right, // focus in each ray.  // Trapped on its way from the s
most with dying breath, // a swan-song,
left behind for us to ponder, // in any season.  //
e of toothpaste // that the saxophonist
left behind.  // This is the heat-death of the universe; // the restaur
rain and the air?  // The glistening mud
left by the ebb-tide.  // The moored boat listing on the mudflat.  // Th
d flows.  // Subjective/objective // Tap
left open.  // Oh bugger!  // What was it, then, from which I just emerg
// below and to the right.  And rising
left // the Cape Cod house’s painted clapboard side.  // At centre, as
rlier era of the house’s existence.  We
left the room unpainted for the best part of the 22 years we lived the
day at her loom, // Her mistress never
left the womb // That was the fastness of her room.  // Only through th
es the lagoon, a field flooded and then
left // to the encroaching mud.  On the far bank // of the next bend,
sed within its arms // a walled garden,
left untended // for maybe thirty years.  A winding path // leads from
e, a colder clime, // with no arms, one
leg , no tail, but raised high, // and head thrown back, I can dance.  /
I realise the pain is subsiding, the //
leg was not broken, and after a while I can // think of resuming my jo
wall, around the bladder-wrack, // long-
legged waders scutter, scavenge, seek // their winter sustenance.  Out
ght some forty years ago.  // One of the
legs had rotted half away.  // But a new piece of four by two turned it
es // yawn and stretch // blue skies //
legs itch // must get on // first scratch // clothes on // spell broke
Sheffield ties become more tenuous, //
legs weaken, and isolation palls.  // One more great change, one more n
erphilly came.  // They lingered long in
Leicestershire ; // red was the evening sky.  // By Derby town they sett
stone // twist to separate.  // Orange,
lemon , lime: // equatorially // squeeze the juice // leave the pith an
and called “Post-Balzac”.  It is a full-
length bronze cape, upright and rounded as if on the shoulders of its
ss, navy blue or fawn, // three-quarter
length , or maybe short, // patch pockets (useless for cold hands), //
um outside Amsterdam.  The Hermitage in
Leningrad in Soviet days.  Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge when it was stil
his colours have gone; // learning his
lesson , the great Michelangelo // makes his work lasting by carving in
// and learnt and gave and lost, // we
let each thread unroll behind, // laying down the past— // until the d
Vagrant monosyllables //
Let he who is without zen… but there is a multitude of zens.  The zens
// glowing embers // throw on timber //
let it burn // glowing embers // smoulder down // let it burn // warm
n // glowing embers // smoulder down //
let it burn // warm as toast // smoulder down // potatoes roast // war
w throw the canopy too // to the winds,
let it whirl away // into the encroaching dark.  // Feel the earth.  Fee
h crescent moon // from cold immune.  //
Let snow lie, // it’s Jan, not June.  // A blue lagoon, // the deep blu
// to earth, as far away as it will go. 
Let the browns // and reds and golds replace the greens.  Now throw the
the water return // to the dry ground. 
Let the cooling dark // settle around and about, under and over.  // Co
Stages // Hanging garden.  Send a
letter .  // Fresh clay tablet, stylus, scribe.  // Entrust to messenger.
x.  // I love you.  // Wi-fi café.  Send a
letter .  // Laptop, plug in power socket.  // Click to send.  // I love y
// I love you.  // Flowing Nile.  Send a
letter .  // New papyrus, brush and ink.  // Command a messenger.  // I lo
/ I love you.  // Papered bedsit.  Send a
letter .  // Pad of paper, ballpoint pen.  // Find a stamp, street-corner
love you.  // Draughty hall.  Now send a
letter .  // Parchment, new quill pen, and ink.  // Employ a messenger.  /
love you.  // Curtained parlour.  Send a
letter .  // Scented paper, dip-pen, ink.  // Branch post office, penny s
e.  Never fill the kettle above the MAX
level and ensure that it is always above the MIN level. //
e two or three metres above // mean sea
level .  // And where’s that, when it’s at home?  // It’s a level that th
n their cups.  Thomas certainly did his
level best // to drink himself to death.  But for these falls, // no d
e // Place the cordless base on a
level firm surface. // Where ever possible fill the kettle
f cast-iron supports for an old // high-
level lavatory cistern, wonderfully // ornate.  A pump and valves from
amount of water can be measured by the
level mark on the outside of the kettle.  Never fill the kettle above
and again // on its way down.  // It’s a
level measured // a century ago and // three hundred and forty miles /
ensure that it is always above the MIN
level . // Only fill the kettle with the amount of water you
re’s that, when it’s at home?  // It’s a
level that the tide rushes past // on its way up and again // on its w
the banked-up track // behind the wall,
level with the top, // running the gauntlet of the winter storm.  // Th
ur comfort’s as rotten // as stealing a
library book.  // Five of our cushions are missing.  // How can we count
smoked trout, wevet, bone, calamine //
lichen , brinjal, radicchio, citron, calluna // brassica, hay, pelt, do
heather and the bracken, the moss, the
lichen , // the cropped grass, the sheep- and rabbit-droppings, // the
// Always make sure that the
lid is properly firmly closed. // Place the kettle on the c
ling rings.  // The jars hang from their
lids , nailed to // the shelf above.  The boxes and tins are stacked //
they settled down // on purple sage to
lie .  // A Cheshire cat accosted them, // then walked his wild way // a
st the blind.  // A storm is raging as I
lie abed, // whipped wide awake by what the thunder said.  // Rain ratt
ing sky // The fields that by the river
lie // Are rough and unkempt.  Buzzards fly // Above the weedy hedgero
er still, after the storm has passed //
lie back on the wet beach // and watch the stars emerge.  // Sharp dots
t moon // from cold immune.  // Let snow
lie , // it’s Jan, not June.  // A blue lagoon, // the deep blue sky.  //
ows down time.  // Now is the time // to
lie on the earth, // smell the air, // feel the warmth of the fire, //
The
Lieder // a rondeau // In any season, some young man will wander // al
etimes venture.  // Beyond the fir-trees
lies // a bracken-covered heath.  The summer fronds // rise far above
ars have passed.  The winter’s chill //
Lies fast upon the land so ill.  // Seldom now the skylark’s trill; //
dark // Maybe, for some, the resolution
lies // in their cups.  Thomas certainly did his level best // to drin
can we doubt // that somewhere herein
lies some deep philosophy?  // Voices, ipods, phones speak out— // add
between our toes.  Across the river //
lies the lagoon, a field flooded and then left // to the encroaching m
to tell?  // This painting has a private
life .  //
at Judith treasures for the rest of her
life . //
’m not looking for such immortality, //
life after death would not be to my taste; // rather, look forward to
minds us of so much we’ll never see.  //
Life and death are two, and now are one: // no perfectability except o
the different dittoes must compete for
life .  // Another billion random changes: all // —or almost all—are dud
s.  At some more ordered // stage of my
life (certainly long before // the children arrived) I divided each dr
ing // How little I really know of your
life !  // From the moment almost a half-century ago // when I first met
find a way.  // I hear you say, // “But
life is for the living, do not kill // another day.”  // And yet you st
ed next door: // someone else’s fragile
life is there.  //
ed next door: // someone else’s fragile
life is there.  // Each new doctor asks the same once more, // voices f
nd all was well; // the end, the moment
life just seemed to drain // away from you, in those last days of pain
d?  // Some earlier occasion when // our
life -lines must have crossed, // some passing chance of might-have-bee
Notes to a
life // Milk // Sausages or chops // Veg—broccoli?  // Some fruit // Pr
steps which, added up, construct // my
life .  // Most of the steps are small, // following, if not a line, //
ame?  // It’s been too far south all its
life : // not cancer, but capricorn.  // Objective // An exobladder.  //
rday I was told: it looks clear.  // So
life should now appear // as it did a month gone, // BC (Before Capric
in any season.  // The author, he whose
life the fates would squander— // such richness in his music did he re
cks and grids and patterned lattices of
life // through glasses, darkly.  // —A fragment, formulated forty year
Fragments of a
life // We walked across England, once.  If you follow the west-
o to posterity speaks; // Joyce has his
Liffey whose recirculation keeps // Finnegan going (despite it’s his w
but gentle.  // Soft digits hold softly,
lift softly // place softly against another softness // and soft voice
bring // as the rising waters reach and
lift them // Hear the marsh-birds calling // echoes of the distant sea
Light and shadow // The rule: we should not // begin unwrapping till
on forever?  // Empty again, in harsher
light .  // Another softness, giant but gentle.  // Soft digits hold soft
seaward, sun behind us, low, // yellow
light -beams almost horizontal; // East Hills aglow.  // Winds moaning r
ep // dark night // dream deep // faint
light // bird sings // growing bright // gadget pings // go away // sl
f the night // I would’ve turned on the
light ...  // But now no more— // your gentle snore // puts all the ghos
over sand and rock // in filtered blue
light , // carrying hardness with it.  // Sometimes softness shelters in
// dimity, blazer, babouche // borrowed
light , dimpse, mizzle, skylight // ammonite, mahogany, archive // plum
rage // against // the dying // of the
light .  Do not // go gentle into that good night.  // Here, // now, //
ld not // begin unwrapping till it’s //
light enough to see.  // Below the bulges, // not yet decipherable, //
warm // fading now // last glow // tiny
light // fading now // dark night //
ay.  // Through passages or corridors //
light -footed did I make my way?  // Across what carpets, rugs or floors
have no crystal ball, no glass.  // The
light has all gone, now.  //
louds are low and spitting rain.  // The
light is dimming now.  // Further north the rain teems down // enough t
ong night’s images last.  // But now the
light is fading // as the day slides into the mist.  // Morning is alwa
// of an uncompleted day.  // Not until
light is fading // has the interval passed by.  // An uncompleted day /
e river Don and flood the plain.  // The
light is fading now.  // Politicians on the stump // make promises-to-g
// inspired by our local Trump.  // The
light is failing now.  // The surgeons trying to cut us off // from con
ore like butchers working rough.  // The
light is going now.  // How will these transient trials pass?  // It’s r
Sunburn // Sonnet // Tanka // Bend the
light // just so // above, below, // left and right.  // Focus in, // e
/ white // hot // and burn.  // Bend the
light just so // above, below, left and right, // focus in each ray.  /
in the dark edges beyond the flickering
light .  // Nearly-five-year-old Colin // needed a lavatory, and I had t
n the dark side of the earth, // in the
light of a fire, // and faint starlight from space // reflected in ink
The paraffin stove // casts patterns of
light on the // high bedroom ceiling.  //
moves north against the fading evening
light .  // Slanting lines are forming, breaking, forming // ordered cha
Hopper Chōka // Yellow neon
light // spilling through plate-glass windows // across the pavement. 
ut, I’m sure // it’ll last forever, the
light that’s leaking // under the door.  //
stare?  // Or is it just the clarity of
light , the glowing // grass and trees outside her window, warming // i
push out above, // buds into the waxing
light , the spring rain.  Throw open // the fire-coloured temptations, w
e // Dark night // strike match // tiny
light // twigs catch // strike match // flame unfurls // twigs catch /
Landing
light // Under the door the glow is peeking, // feeling its way across
ing, dark green leaves showing // their
lighter backs, a few edging // towards the brown.  // Autumn fruit is g
prove it.  // Blitz.  The heavy bombers,
lighter now, // are droning back towards their bases, // and fighters
flat-fronted.  // No electricity— // gas
lighting from the thirties; // two taps; one loo // in a lean-to out t
more darknesses // more storms, gales,
lightning bolts // more days of sun or rain or passing cloud // more m
are aired, // temple columns spaced, //
lightning rods earthed.  // On the dark side of the earth, // in the li
h are mounted // battery box, switches,
lights , buzzers, plugs // and connecting leads.  Another pair // of br
s // Pay newsagent // Bulbs for kitchen
lights —CS 60W screw???—check first // Cash m/c // Washing // Plan fina
person to alight please switch off the
lights .  // This departure has arrived.  // The locomotive will desist f
Blair.  // Nigel Farrage // has a mouth
like a garage— // he opens it ever so wide // and you can see all the
azily along and then // greet each pole
like a jumping jack.  // The bogeys go: click-clack click-clack.  // Ra
ople in evening dress, top hats and the
like , appropriate to some earlier era of the house’s existence.  We le
// our sense of part and whole, netsuke-
like .  // Bird and fish are two, and now are one: // no perfectability
f // from continental flow // seem more
like butchers working rough.  // The light is going now.  // How will th
s too, // spirals round itself, trumpet-
like .  // Can this go on forever?  // Softness grows still, fades away. 
ut very beautiful.  // What does it look
like from the inside?  // See that blue-green ball of stuff? // —spinni
ld hands), // thick felted wool, a monk-
like hood— // and with (the most important thing) // those wooden togg
r, all shapes and sizes of New Yorkers,
like lambs.  It is a memory that Judith treasures for the rest of her
yme, // no.  // Words go // from mind //
like snow.  // A line // to show // can’t find, // no.  //
t doesn’t really want // to kill me.  //
Like the asteroid // barrelling onwards, to wipe us out in // ten or a
e, but every second period or layer, //
like the bard from Japan whose verses never would scan, adds an extra
ointed arch // piercing the wall, built
like the house // of weathered Cotswold stone.  // The box and holly //
n the beginning I am small and playful,
like the wind.  // It changes direction from minute to minute; // gives
The apple said // Of course we’d
like to understand // the stars and planets overhead // as well as act
Gloucester // for a summer spin— // and
liked a lass from Lancashire; // so milk-white was her skin.  // In Che
y // That reality in which I live // is
likely different from the one you know.  // It is the space in which I
s land, this country that I go.  // It’s
likely different from the one you know: // to you, this is a dream in
than three hours now.  // When are they
likely to send out a search party?  // Probably not until well after da
// gnarled broadleaf trees with twisted
limbs // shed leaves with perfect sculpted edges.  // A bramble sends g
// twist to separate.  // Orange, lemon,
lime : // equatorially // squeeze the juice // leave the pith and pips.
Limerick // There was an old Fellow of Girton // who always made love
this will help to reduce the amount of
limescale that builds up on the filter. // The amount of wa
f Malham Cove, // with fields below and
limestone crags above; // descend the steps to reach the valley floor—
we care not a tittle.  // Many die—thus
limiting their needs.  // This time, the bug’s not spread by rats and f
o much earlier.  // Later, much later, I
limp into harbour.  My // family playing, completely oblivious.  //
not be good.  // Nevertheless I draw the
line // at dropping onto Isaac’s head.  // His inspiration is not mine
steps are small, // following, if not a
line , // at least some vague direction.  // Once in a while, though, th
Circle
line // Board anywhere //
the end of the street and right, // the
line bridges over the road.) Sometimes at night, // a heavy goods tra
dark against the sky.  // Ahead, another
line , // flat and sharp and natural too: // pale sky encounters dark s
/ I’ll need a ton of words to fill each
line from side to side, // verbosely quite enough to float or sink a b
the paper onto its side and write each
line // in something approaching or aping the style of that wonderfull
is just the timing that disturbs.  The
line // mostly carries suburban trains; more rarely, // carriages deck
a gentle slope // towards the river.  A
line of ancient oaks // (one blasted trunk is hollow through, and can
spring, the charts // redrawn).  // The
line of pebble-dunes protects // a calmer green oasis, band of salt-ma
ce we call Japan: // against the sky, a
line of those same firs // looks vaguely oriental.  // Since then, of c
mbling— // how in hell did he evade the
line ?  // Oh bugger!  Now we have to get away.  //
Long ago // The railway
line passes near.  // After the engine’s noisy roar, // coaches follow
n for this year // of celebration—every
line // the Bard created for the stage // by the best actors of the ag
are the buffers, this is the end of the
line .  // The last post has been sounded.  // The last post has been col
lves // will find in all the books that
line the shelves, // and close to home as well: they too can be // as
Parallel lines // As you stare down the
line till you squint // with the cold seeping into each joint, // it m
ords go // from mind // like snow.  // A
line // to show // can’t find, // no.  //
y guard, // below the belt and over the
line .  // What’s in a name?  // It’s been too far south all its life:  //
llables would be // long enough for any
line .  // With a terse verse form, you see, // I can get along just fin
s great arcing shoots, // strong curves
lined with jagged thorns, // seeking new ground to conquer.  // Spiders
the sharp senses, nature has many sharp
lines .  //
// strung around precise radial anchor
lines .  // Across the channel, tidal creeks // meandering through the m
firs // —the kind you sometimes see in
lines across // the Suffolk countryside, each tall bare trunk // gnarl
ground.  // The field is ready now, the
lines are drawn.  // Whichever wins, whichever meets defeat, // the rel
t the fading evening light.  // Slanting
lines are forming, breaking, forming // ordered chaos with a raucous s
Parallel
lines // As you stare down the line till you squint // with the cold s
muse suggest // just three alliterative
lines —at best // a semi-stanza—and then to cease?  It seems // pervers
t?  // Yes, with fuel to burn.  // If the
lines be blurred just right, // You may go there with your eyesight.  /
ns, // ranking, taking logs and drawing
lines .  // Chomsky looked for deeper motivation // underneath their sur
ay, just nine months gone, // when both
lines crossed an edge, // and two seemed to twist into one, // right t
ounds // in lop-sided vees and slanting
lines , // dark against the sky.  // Ahead, another line, // flat and sh
Sharp
lines // High overhead, the geese are flying out // on their twice-a-d
Some earlier occasion when // our life-
lines must have crossed, // some passing chance of might-have-been, //
// more curlews, more ragged, slanting
lines of geese // more travels, journeys, voyages, expeditions // more
e sea-winds bring // straining at their
lines .  The bows face seaward // Hear the marsh-birds calling // again
// In other news // Polarity // Battle
lines // The goat // Catheter // The other side // The all-clear // Fi
that the same period games // allow the
lines to peter out // and stop. // † as we step through the double-sta
glow and flying sparks.  // Grass on the
lineside banks is marked // with smears of fires, burnt and black.  //
des // then to Caerphilly came.  // They
lingered long in Leicestershire; // red was the evening sky.  // By Der
ts the sea-winds bring // makes another
lingering turn, begins // Hear the marsh-birds calling // retreating b
k // a hole to build the Channel Tunnel
link .  // A monstrous hole, quite big enough to eat // the park and all
do they care?  // They rattle round, and
link , and split, and fight.  // No voices in the almost-silence that I
stion // to make the beta, gamma, delta
link .  // Damn—I had forgotten // that this equation also needs some ze
way to // recognition, fellowships // (
Linnean Society 1904, // Girton College 1913).  // The Reigate lab, of
om ceilings, // paint from woodwork, //
lino from floors.  // (Under the lino, newspaper // dated 1933 // the y
ork, // lino from floors.  // (Under the
lino , newspaper // dated 1933 // the year Hitler came to power).  // Th
, with open fires the only heat.  // The
lino on the hall floor had been laid // in nineteen thirty three, the
no, not really.  // Objective // Yellow
liquid flows.  // Subjective/objective // Tap left open.  // Oh bugger! 
verses never would scan, adds an extra
list .  // As we* reach the sixth and seventh periods, short of horizont
† as we step through the double-starred
list of the actinoids // ‡ by means of reactors or colliders or other
ind upon the trees outside…  // I try to
listen , but my musing strays.  // His voice is lively, gestures wide.  /
At any time or season of the year // we
listen to Schubert’s Trout Quintet.  // Listening to Schubert’s Trout Q
air, // feel the warmth of the fire, //
listen to the lapping of the water, // and gaze into space.  // We have
listen to Schubert’s Trout Quintet.  //
Listening to Schubert’s Trout Quintet // the slow movement is of cours
// of the mudflats and the sandbanks. 
Listing // Hear the marsh-birds calling // boats are stranded at their
eft by the ebb-tide.  // The moored boat
listing on the mudflat.  // The salt-marsh, the sedge and the samphire,
// In nineteen sixty nine the house was
lit // by gas, with open fires the only heat.  // The lino on the hall
// and dark night fell as we built and
lit the fire // on the dark stones, and planted fireworks // in the da
the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-
Lits // et des Grands Express Européens pass by.  // In the end, it was
ue // In some far-off place we know but
little // across so many alien lands and seas // some people have some
// The hills ranged all around // —they
little care.  // Voices far across the valley sound // through still, w
rispy bean curd of boiler, // Blow up a
little croaker with no result.  // Fragile crab of incense taste mushro
journey is seamless // and, in truth, a
little dull.  // From Brussels by local train to Ghent: canals and cobb
nguid attitude, // in birthday suit and
little else arrayed?  // I think he’d add a note to his remark— // in t
cruel, only truthful— // The eye of the
little god, four cornered.  // Something there is that doesn’t love a w
Ninety-six and counting // How
little I really know of your life!  // From the moment almost a half-ce
eath again.  // Skirting the back of the
Little Man precipice, // one final push up the ridge to the pinnacle. 
too.”  // So the project proceeds with a
little more priming (the // buy-in from business is not keeping pace)
inspiration— // that reality in which I
live .  //
e or validate or grieve— // these words
live .  //
Reality // That reality in which I
live // is likely different from the one you know.  // It is the space
ragile, but Piero’s perspective will //
live on long after his colours have gone; // learning his lesson, the
ime, though, the hollow holds // a real
live snake, standing up and hissing // at our approach.  We turn tail
to ignore // tried to learn // tried to
live // tried to love // tried to make // tried to mend // tried to re
world with skeins of wool.  // And as we
lived and loved and gained // and learnt and gave and lost, // we let
ed for the best part of the 22 years we
lived there, and it wasn’t just because we never got around to it.
e makes a worthy guide; // his voice is
lively , gestures wide.  // The sun and wind upon the trees outside…  //
, but my musing strays.  // His voice is
lively , gestures wide.  // There is much sense in what he says.  // No v
and Antithesis debate.  // His voice is
lively , gestures wide— // there is much sense in what he says, // thro
/ carriages decked in the blue and gold
livery // of the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits // et des Gr
air.  // Our space is the earth, // time
lives in fire, // leaving us the water and the air.  //
// extended // coda to our past // good
lives , the rainbow spans the sky.  //
e to power).  // Then we get on with our
lives : // the repainting can wait.  // I go to work.  // Judith, artist,
a tube inside a tube // —only the last
lives there.  // An inflated bulb to hold // the other two in place.  //
I hear you say, // “But life is for the
living , do not kill // another day.”  // And yet you stay // inside my
athers are visited on the sons, even if
living in zen.  // Gloves are a many-splendoured thing.  Gloves make th
et our shared domain: // the start, the
lobby of a Greek hotel // in summer, where we met and all was well; //
still.  // Garden shed // with a still? 
Local // excise officer takes to // dropping by unannounced.  // Catch
ouses down the street.  // We joined the
local protest, but to small // effect.  At last we felt we had to call
d plates // on the shelves.  Later, the
local rumour states // that the train is carrying nuclear waste; at th
uth, a little dull.  // From Brussels by
local train to Ghent: canals and cobbled streets // and beer and choco
make promises-to-go // inspired by our
local Trump.  // The light is failing now.  // The surgeons trying to cu
Lockdown // Here’s a first-rate opportunity— // Isolation for immunity
Locking down too // down, not up—as in // facing down the crisis // pi
phant’s breath // peignoir, charlotte’s
locks , nancy’s blushes // drop cloth, slipper satin, worsted // dimity
ved.  // The locomotive will desist from
locomotion , // this is our final destination.  // These are the buffers
.  // This departure has arrived.  // The
locomotive will desist from locomotion, // this is our final destinati
a two-up-two-down // full of family and
lodgers .  Daughter born // at the height of the Luftwaffe’s // blitz o
rica, D is killed.  // Later, one of the
lodgers — // Polish serviceman and refugee— // is worth another try.  A
heir instantiations, // ranking, taking
logs and drawing lines.  // Chomsky looked for deeper motivation // und
ing remains // but the fuzzy end of the
lollipop and the squeezed out tube of toothpaste // that the saxophoni
Housepaint // The depths of south
London , 1969.  // A small Victorian terrace house // stuccoed and flat-
shes // in a wild part of the old South
London cemetery.  // Perhaps I should plant // some box or holly.  //
F.B.L //
london clay, blackened, arsenic // railings, pointing, down pipe, clun
ppens my old friend is crowned mayor of
London , he // goes by the rubrik of Boris the Mad.  // He’d adore such
South
London standoff // An ordinary suburban junction.  // Narrow side road
ep bay windows that // adorn most later
London terraced fronts.  // One of a block of four, it had been once— /
for something new: migrate south // to
London , two grandchildren, // and a world to explore.  // But within a
f bridges traversing the Thames here in
London , we’ve // just thirty three—surely room for one more.  // Now it
nge I cannot allow to go answerless.  //
Lone expedition to conquer the mountaintop.  // Bottle of water and lun
/ Seldom now the skylark’s trill; // No
longer do the people fill // The wharfs and ways of Camelot.  // Only o
changing: the ocean // is bottomless no
longer .  // I feel something // never felt before— // something solid u
adgets, // broken furniture, shelves no
longer // serving any useful purpose.  // The clutter covering the rema
len, Norna, or of Rosamunde.  // Sorrow,
longing , dreams pervade the path // in any season.  // The author, he w
ing from the thirties; // two taps; one
loo // in a lean-to out the back.  // On the cornices // a hundred year
hospital.  // There were the children to
look after— // there was no chance for her to follow him.  // There was
Boris, and // gets the Red Margaret to
look at the case.  // “It’s been a fiasco, a drain on our taxes.  The /
down there now.  // Let’s have a closer
look at this one here, // with a bar across.  Not quite the biggest //
Spiders’ webs among the undergrowth.  //
Look closely: precise angular spirals // strung around precise radial
th would not be to my taste; // rather,
look forward to final oblivion— // when the time comes, I might add, n
thing they might be behind or under.  //
Look inside anything they might be in.  // Turn the place upside down. 
mirror crack’d from side to side.  // I
look into the mirror, but it’s cracked // And won’t be fixed and alway
up, but very beautiful.  // What does it
look like from the inside?  // See that blue-green ball of stuff? // —s
through the mirror’s gloam // Dared she
look to Camelot.  // Not until the fateful day // When, gleaming in his
ong the open beach, in rich sea air.  //
Look up, look up, my love—the sky is calling.  // Dark shapes are calli
pen beach, in rich sea air.  // Look up,
look up, my love—the sky is calling.  // Dark shapes are calling each t
king logs and drawing lines.  // Chomsky
looked for deeper motivation // underneath their surface combinations.
e frame // he chose has cut us off from
looking at // the focus of her gaze: does he not want // to tell?  // T
Random walk //
Looking backwards, I can see // mistily, the shape of things: // the s
ing by carving in stone— // me, I’m not
looking for such immortality, // life after death would not be to my t
the fairest of them all?  // (The cruel
looking -glass that will never show a lass // As comely or as kindly or
Afternoon in winter, on the ramparts //
looking seaward, sun behind us, low, // yellow light-beams almost hori
ung man half-turned // across the rest,
looking with unfocussed eyes // into the distance down the street.  I
backwards?  // Yesterday I was told: it
looks clear.  // So life should now appear // as it did a month gone, /
st September, meeting you.  // The world
looks different now.  //
an leans // upon a table in the window,
looks // out into sunlight, over grass, towards // some distant point
t the sky, a line of those same firs //
looks vaguely oriental.  // Since then, of course, the bracken // has b
y of Shalott.  // Working all day at her
loom , // Her mistress never left the womb // That was the fastness of
g to rest and recuperate.  // Skiddaw is
looming , inviting explorers—a // challenge I cannot allow to go answer
// Telephone wires through the pane //
loop lazily along and then // greet each pole like a jumping jack.  //
portant thing) // those wooden toggles,
loops of string.  // I must confess to having owned // long long ago, t
migration between feeding grounds // in
lop -sided vees and slanting lines, // dark against the sky.  // Ahead,
ly is very annoying— // I hope we don’t
lose any more.  // Three of our cushions are missing.  // I don’t know q
A cloppy sea //
Lose pay cap, // O palace spy.  // Lay pop case // plea as copy.  // Ape
fall.  Battles are fought, // wars are
lost and won.  Did they rage around me // where I stood for all men to
hing—maybe she // is pensive, dreaming,
lost in reverie.  // And the artist who is showing us the scene // —doe
please press one; for love’s labour’s
lost // press two; or three for cymbelline; // the merry wives of wind
marsh-birds calling // in places it has
lost , reoccupation // Breath the scents the sea-winds bring // of the
crashing, splitting, breaking.  // I am
lost .  The one behind // will finish me completely // and for ever.  //
gloves never did run smooth.  No glove
lost .  // We have nothing to wear but wear itself.  Without wear or fav
d and gained // and learnt and gave and
lost , // we let each thread unroll behind, // laying down the past— //
speak // for Suliman, but I am well of
love .  //
red.  // Something there is that doesn’t
love a wall.  // Out flew the web and floated wide; // The mirror crack
s nor // with flagons, for I am well of
love .  // Apples may perhaps be comforting // as any fruit, though Suli
is at least a Fire.  // The others too I
love —Earth, Water, Air—but Fire // is something else again.  // A memor
been—for many kinds of loving.  // Did I
love enough? use every day?  // Days for seeing you in different ways.
more.  // How about adding space, time,
love ?  // One, // one, // two, three, // five, eight.  But // “Fibonacc
The well of
love // Raisins are all very well in their place // —in muesli, say, o
see the flowers in the hedgerows.  // We
love the flowers in the hedgerows // no matter what the season of the
n rich sea air.  // Look up, look up, my
love —the sky is calling.  // Dark shapes are calling each to each: a th
ort me // with apples, for I am well of
love .  // The usual translation is not raisins // but flagons.  Flagons
d to learn // tried to live // tried to
love // tried to make // tried to mend // tried to reach // tried to r
yways, thoughts tragic or tender— // of
love unfinished or of peaceful earth, // the mill-girl’s beauty or the
ely face, // the world just so.  // True
love will germinate and grow, // all tribulations to displace, // far
old Fellow of Girton // who always made
love with his shirt on.  // Saying “Now that I’m old, // I do feel the
in power socket.  // Click to send.  // I
love you.  //
n, and ink.  // Employ a messenger.  // I
love you.  // Curtained parlour.  Send a letter.  // Scented paper, dip-p
h and ink.  // Command a messenger.  // I
love you.  // Draughty hall.  Now send a letter.  // Parchment, new quill
, scribe.  // Entrust to messenger.  // I
love you.  // Flowing Nile.  Send a letter.  // New papyrus, brush and in
/ Branch post office, penny stamp.  // I
love you.  // Papered bedsit.  Send a letter.  // Pad of paper, ballpoint
/ Find a stamp, street-corner box.  // I
love you.  // Wi-fi café.  Send a letter.  // Laptop, plug in power socke
skeins of wool.  // And as we lived and
loved and gained // and learnt and gave and lost, // we let each threa
e continuum // —cool!  // There are some
lovely spirals down there now.  // Let’s have a closer look at this one
er a stormy fell // with her who to her
lover’s side makes haste: // jump willing into every word-filled well.
d, // the soft and sensuous flesh joins
love’s embrace.  // Mother and child are two, and now are one: // no pe
t the tempest // please press one; for
love’s labour’s lost // press two; or three for cymbelline; // the mer
—or should have been—for many kinds of
loving .  // Did I love enough? use every day?  // Days for seeing you i
the marshes and the sea.  The sun // is
low ahead of us, the sky is clear.  // Across the wood, onto the beach.
the day begins to go // the clouds are
low and spitting rain.  // The light is dimming now.  // Further north t
illion two hundred and fifty thousand: 
Low Countries // Gelderland; Glabbeek; Gramsbergen // conurbations; dr
yards across the park at the back // a
low embankment carries the railway track.  // (Down the slope to the en
rld just so.  // A wingéd dragon, flying
low , // will seek a human sacrifice, // far away and long ago.  // A ha
arts // looking seaward, sun behind us,
low , // yellow light-beams almost horizontal; // East Hills aglow.  //
he bar three people sit // all six eyes
lowered // in silent contemplation.  // The rest of the world is dark. 
The Lady’s Maid // Under a gray and
lowering sky // The fields that by the river lie // Are rough and unke
oothpowder, tins // for cocoa or throat
lozenges or metal polish, // jars for all sorts of jams and pickles. 
hatterley ban // and the Beatles’ first
LP ; // strangely, though, not sex but fire).  // See this: // the large
to the rocks.  // But me, now, I'm just
lucky .  //
Daughter born // at the height of the
Luftwaffe’s // blitz on Sheffield.  // In north Africa, D is killed.  //
hile they fought it out.  // There was a
lull — // But he was dead: // had died three hours after his arrival, /
Troubled waters // The good Lady
Lumley is pondering glumly.  “I // need a new project to keep me in tr
e, // pour out the blue flame.  // After
lunch , a walk // through the summer’s brown bracken // that covers the
the mountaintop.  // Bottle of water and
lunch in my haversack.  // Climb by the obvious route from the valley,
ey seem // to switch a gear, and take a
lurch // at some acute, unmeasured angle.  // Last September, meeting y
ing figures, clinched before a fall; //
Lutteurs —they are two, and now are one: // no perfectability except ou
rushing wild clouds across the sky, //
lying abed beneath the cobwebbed rafters, // warm and dry.  // On water
ning there were many words: // sitting,
lying all around // in bags or scattered on the ground // waiting to b
ghts night has in store.  // Whether I’m
lying awake or sleeping // or floating half in half out, I’m sure // i
n?  It must be, if agony’s evidence.  //
Lying there wondering whether there’s any chance // I could attract th
Mon // Did I submit tax form??  // Check
L’s dob—70 next b/day?  // Dentist appointment—week of 10th // Write po