Stephen Robertson

Slanting Lines


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.


in Leningrad in Soviet days.  Kettle’s
Yard in Cambridge when it was still managed by Jim Ede (he would pick
start of the first world war).  // Fifty
yards across the park at the back // a low embankment carries the rail
erlock Court; Sherlock Close // houses;
yards ; curbs // One to fifty:  Ground floor // Bedroom 2; Bathroom; Bic
// it pulls the final prop.  A hundred
yards // of man’s best effort at defence // drops thirty feet into a h
I will go the whole hog, the full nine
yards : turn the paper onto its side and write each line // in somethin
to rise // feeling slow // rub eyes //
yawn and stretch // blue skies // legs itch // must get on // first sc
ybe for a day— // even more maybe—for a
year and a day // in Norfolk where the sign reads slow you down.  //
ows // no matter what the season of the
year .  // At any time or season of the year // we listen to Schubert’s
// ten-million-year mountain // hundred-
year forest // hundred-million-year sea // ten-thousand-year lake // t
he lino, newspaper // dated 1933 // the
year Hitler came to power).  // Then we get on with our lives: // the r
a 1958 // Cambridge, circa 1966 // This
year it snows on Boxing Day.  // The country road not cleared for days
undred-million-year sea // ten-thousand-
year lake // thousand-year stream // narrow stream // open moor // dee
/ dense forest // rough moor // million-
year moor // ten-million-year mountain // hundred-year forest // hundr
oor // million-year moor // ten-million-
year mountain // hundred-year forest // hundred-million-year sea // te
ay is here // a new production for this
year // of celebration—every line // the Bard created for the stage //
nd the flickering light.  // Nearly-five-
year -old Colin // needed a lavatory, and I had to leave the fire for a
n oils on hardboard.  // — // 1973.  Six-
year -old Emily visits.  // At home, two days later, // she says to her
ould cross my five- // or eight- or ten-
year -old imagination.  // It stands within a grove of trees, a very few
hundred-year forest // hundred-million-
year sea // ten-thousand-year lake // thousand-year stream // narrow s
a // ten-thousand-year lake // thousand-
year stream // narrow stream // open moor // deep lake // high mountai
Interval // There is a forty-one
year tale to tell // —could I but find the words to make it plain.  //
it // not until seven years later, the
year that her first // grandchild arrived?  I can’t quite recall.  Nor
e year.  // At any time or season of the
year // we listen to Schubert’s Trout Quintet.  // Listening to Schuber
to wait // another thirteen and a half
years .  //
rn, even perhaps // identify across the
years .  A copper beech // stands out, a clump of pears whose fruit //
rden, left untended // for maybe thirty
years .  A winding path // leads from the glazed back door // through b
torm will // simply erase them.  // Four
years ago a storm demolished // the dunes on the beach across the cree
arkly.  // —A fragment, formulated forty
years ago // and filed in the middens of my mind.  // And in my mind it
kham house // that we bought some forty
years ago.  // One of the legs had rotted half away.  // But a new piece
he cold outside.  // (But that was forty
years ago // —these days his hair is white all through.) // ‘Every mil
ck into its glow.  // Another twenty one
years , // another crematorium.  // This time Judith has chosen the musi
d, // crops are watered.  // Seasons and
years are counted and timed.  // Philosophies are aired, // temple colu
uriet) // had come as a child sixty-odd
years before // (well before the start of the first world war).  // Fif
a world to explore.  // But within a few
years , both son and daughter // are dead too.  Back to Sheffield again
editerranean waves roll on.  // How many
years , decades, centuries // have I lain upon this sandy seafloor?  //
n his way // Rode bold Sir Lancelot.  //
Years have passed.  The winter’s chill // Lies fast upon the land so i
// and talked to relatives not seen for
years .  // It had to be, but it was not the memory we needed.  // So thr
// ten or a thousand or maybe a million
years , // it seems to be acting // not in its own best interests.  // T
new home.  Or was it // not until seven
years later, the year that her first // grandchild arrived?  I can’t q
the heat upon my face.  // Twenty three
years later, when my mother died // we had the proper formal funeral. 
e twentieth century only // ninety-nine
years long.) // Béla Bartók and Frank Bridge // are still at college /
e back.  // On the cornices // a hundred
years of whitewash.  // We wire from scratch, // plumb, strip everythin
m unpainted for the best part of the 22
years we lived there, and it wasn’t just because we never got around t
Ode to the
yeast wind // flour, water, mix well // mollycoddle for one day // thr
uff? // —spinning around one of the hot
yellow bits // way out here in the remoter backwaters // of the wester
looking seaward, sun behind us, low, //
yellow light-beams almost horizontal; // East Hills aglow.  // Winds mo
/ Pain? no, not really.  // Objective //
Yellow liquid flows.  // Subjective/objective // Tap left open.  // Oh b
Hopper Chōka //
Yellow neon light // spilling through plate-glass windows // across th
// A turn, a period of change?  // Well,
yes .  In all the arts // currents criss-cross, revolutions // blossom
// “Judith is a painter, isn’t she?”  //
Yes .  // “Then why hasn’t she painted // the walls?”  // Fair question. 
Anticipation //
Yes , there will be more.  // More hills, dales, crags, beaches // more
// Can I go there, with my eyesight?  //
Yes , with fuel to burn.  // If the lines be blurred just right, // You
y after tomorrow // tomorrow // will be
yesterday .  //
cket, maybe?  // No.  // But which jacket
yesterday ?  Ah, that one.  // But no.  // Table by door?  // No.  // Kitche
/ Or was it just a hedge, backwards?  //
Yesterday I was told: it looks clear.  // So life should now appear //
No.  No.  No.  No.  // Dammit, used them
yesterday .  Must be somewhere.  // Start again, from the beginning, by
n the time comes, I might add, not just
yet .  //
rudes from the // edge of the path, not
yet blunted or bowdlerized.  // Broken?  It must be, if agony’s evidenc
// in their cots // William Walton not
yet born.  // But Maurice Ravel has just joined // the Société des Apac
ugh to see.  // Below the bulges, // not
yet decipherable, // orange and penny.  // Brandy, a candle: // heat ti
n neither // control nor understand.  //
Yet here’s a thought.  Just maybe I can // circle round the tentacles
ll // the world with dittoed offspring. 
Yet it will // occasionally not breed true.  Now strife: // the differe
/ The eighth layer has not been started
yet , so the only thing to do about // it is to turn back and traverse
keep the carriers of plague at bay.  //
Yet someone here is staggering and stumbling— // how in hell did he ev
sed by.  // An uncompleted day // is not
yet to be fixed— // but each interval passing by // may be notched on
by // may be notched on a stick.  // Not
yet to be fixed // while the long night’s images last, // but notched
ng, do not kill // another day.”  // And
yet you stay // inside my head, and take away my will // to find a way
ot around to it. // On a New
York subway:  Judith and me standing as there are no seats; she is 4 o
nt at the time.  A tiny middle-aged New
York woman, sitting on a bench seat, observes the situation, and promp
y obey her, all shapes and sizes of New
Yorkers , like lambs.  It is a memory that Judith treasures for the res
// First to Hunmanby on the north-east
Yorkshire coast // for the requisite square-bashing.  And then when he
d.  // Polish husband transforms into //
Yorkshire male, expecting // tea on the table when he returns from wor
times, my best-beloved, // when we were
young and all, // the woven patterns traced and covered // the world w
a lass // As comely or as kindly or as
young as what she was!) // I am not cruel, only truthful— // The eye o
spass on Kinderscout.  // Meet a dashing
young fellow rambler.  // Marry, find a home // on the very edge of She
ur // Butterfish cooked to no sauce.  //
Young flourishing bowl bowl shrimp // Do a boiler burn the duck head. 
and gazing into // one window; but one
young man half-turned // across the rest, looking with unfocussed eyes
// towards the setting sun.  // Go west,
young man?  No, this is about // a century and a half before Columbus.
der // a rondeau // In any season, some
young man will wander // along the byways, thoughts tragic or tender—
ere was a bullet, stray.  // There was a
young man writhing in the splinters of the shattered window pane.  // T
her once ran a fish-and-chip shop.  // A
young rambler, you take part // in the mass trespass on Kinderscout.  /