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

In this bright green // // we wander,
hacking out our paths, or creeping through, // // maybe chancing on a
ste mushroom // // Do the black boiler
hair belly.  // // The day boiler duck is miscellaneous.  // //
forty years ago // // —these days his
hair is white all through.) // // ‘Every mile is two’? no, hardly th
ire brush // // of David’s thick black
hair , // // staying in place until at home // // the small gas fire
ago.  // // One of the legs had rotted
half away.  // // But a new piece of four by two turned it into // //
// mollycoddle for one day // // throw
half away // // more flour, water, mix well // // mollycoddle for on
// mollycoddle for one day // // throw
half away // // more flour, water, mix well // // mollycoddle for on
// mollycoddle for one day // // throw
half away // // more flour, water, mix well // // mollycoddle for on
o, this is about // // a century and a
half before Columbus.  // // He is a leader of Flemish weavers, pointi
r life!  // // From the moment almost a
half -century ago // // when I first met your daughter // // I have k
ed or abandoned projects, // // pieces
half -constructed or half-deconstructed, // // for some architectural
l lake, // // soup-spoon-shaped, still
half -covered // // in slowly melting ice.  On the far side // // the
ects, // // pieces half-constructed or
half -deconstructed, // // for some architectural or mechanical purpos
ctural or mechanical purpose // // now
half -forgotten.  Electrical components.  // // A pair of cast-iron sup
ng awake or sleeping // // or floating
half in half out, I’m sure // // it’ll last forever, the light that’s
a wooden curtain pole, // // two and a
half inches in diameter (the pole // // itself and four-inch rings su
or sleeping // // or floating half in
half out, I’m sure // // it’ll last forever, the light that’s leaking
wn fragments, snatches— // // some now
half -remembered, some long since forgotten— // // but nothing that re
le, pear: // // pole-to-pole // // in
half then quarters // // cut the core from each.  // // But no, for o
to // // one window; but one young man
half -turned // // across the rest, looking with unfocussed eyes // /
e to wait // // another thirteen and a
half years.  // //
s the only heat.  // // The lino on the
hall floor had been laid // // in nineteen thirty three, the newsprin
Iken
Hall // // Later, my mother will describe the house itself // // as
ger.  // // I love you.  // // Draughty
hall .  Now send a letter.  // // Parchment, new quill pen, and ink.  //
lack.  // // On holiday by train!  Vast
hall // // of city station, noisy, full // // of people rushing ther
// // The houses, and their rooms and
halls // // and whether it was night or day; // // the gardens, and
ome shiny erection to // // burnish my
halo .  Ah, I have a whim // // to build a fine bridge clear across a
At last we felt we had to call // // a
halt to worry, and agreed to sell // // for demolition, move to Cambe
thello; six for king lear; // // seven
hamlet ; eight macbeth; nine // // for any other choice.  You’ll find
nd holes and scars // // from saws and
hammers and screwed-on wood- // // and metal-working vices added to t
e bare flesh of // // the back of your
hand as you reach past to pilfer // // the clusters beyond, adding sc
d // // with a comb and a glass in her
hand .  // // See the pretty girl in that mirror there— // // Who can
head // // as well as actions close at
hand // // (the apple said), // // to comprehend the universe // //
of city herbage in city clag // // —a
handful of trees, bulbs // // and other plants.  // // On one // //
ort to footnotes just to keep a healthy
handle on the case. // // * following the example of the chemists an
y.  Did I really // // spring from the
hands of the great Praxiteles?  // // I cannot now recall.  // // No m
by Gaudier-Brzeska, and put it into our
hands ).  She introduced me to so many artists.  As I have visited othe
// // patch pockets (useless for cold
hands ), // // thick felted wool, a monk-like hood— // // and with (t
// // far away and long ago.  // // A
handsome prince will boldly go // // and dangers great will bravely f
nd fibre sealing rings.  // // The jars
hang from their lids, nailed to // // the shelf above.  The boxes and
towards my fate, // // or did I merely
hang on by my fingernails // // while the tornado raged around me?  //
Stages // //
Hanging garden.  Send a letter.  // // Fresh clay tablet, stylus, scrib
Post truth // // // ‘Oh Mirror that
hangs on the wall // // who is the fairest of all?’  // // The mirror
surely room for one more.  // // Now it
happens my old friend is crowned mayor of London, he // // goes by th
me in trim— // // now the Gurkhas are
happy —some shiny erection to // // burnish my halo.  Ah, I have a whi
gon he’ll be glad.”  // // The Boris is
happy .  “We need a designer with // // boldness and vision—I know jus
// The trickle slackens, changes in the
harbour ; // // Hear the marsh-birds calling // // at the bar the wav
.  // // Later, much later, I limp into
harbour .  My // // family playing, completely oblivious.  // //
by a bolt embedded in // // the Newlyn
harbour wall.  // // One day, a storm will // // simply erase them.  /
ippegan Island; Cape Sable // // bays;
harbours // // One to one million two hundred and fifty thousand:  Lo
a clump of pears whose fruit // // is
hard as stone.  (But when stewed overnight // // in the oven of the p
erfectability except our own.  // // In
hard cast bronze all hardness now replaced, // // the soft and sensuo
The tide is high, and every wave tries
hard // // to breach the wall.  And when it hits just right // // th
ansient trials pass?  // // It’s really
hard to know.  // // We have no crystal ball, no glass.  // // The lig
can be blamed // // for many things. 
Hard to tell, now, // // which failing faculties to place // // at i
aight to synthesis.  // // Tried // //
hard // // to write // // a fib on // // achievement, but got // /
d // // goes head over heels // // on
hard , unyielding // // rocks and stones, // // falls back under my f
omething would unfold, // // something
hard would turn to something good // // some dormant thing would wake
n or charcoal, // // paints in oils on
hardboard .  // // — // // 1973.  Six-year-old Emily visits.  // // At
ling and shrieking.  // // It pushes us
harder , // // makes us grow broader and taller, // // sweeps spray f
ough.) // // ‘Every mile is two’? no,
hardly thus.  // // Some miles are ten, while others swiftly pass.  //
// // Rough softness grows // // but
hardness cannot grow.  // // Rough softness is too big, // // leaves
inside hardness.  // // Softness grows,
hardness grows too, // // spirals round itself, trumpet-like.  // //
our own.  // // In hard cast bronze all
hardness now replaced, // // the soft and sensuous flesh joins love’s
Carapace // // Tiny
hardness on tiny softness.  // // Softness crawls over sand and rock /
still, fades away.  // // Empty spiral
hardness rests // // on the sea-bed.  Forever?  // // Another, roughe
// Sometimes softness shelters inside
hardness .  // // Softness grows, hardness grows too, // // spirals ro
in filtered blue light, // // carrying
hardness with it.  // // Sometimes softness shelters inside hardness. 
s go on forever?  // // Empty again, in
harsher light.  // // Another softness, giant but gentle.  // // Soft
ately 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 bo
t.  // // Just fancy that—swallowed his
hat !  // // He swallowed his hat to fend off the rain.  // // What an
ere was an old fellow who swallowed his
hat .  // // Just fancy that—swallowed his hat!  // // He swallowed his
// // He swallowed the net to trap the
hat .  // // Restart for that.  // //
llowed his hat!  // // He swallowed his
hat to fend off the rain.  // // What an odd game—to swallow the rain!
the gauntlet // // battening down the
hatches // // closing down the argument // // shutting down the comp
n weed-o’er-run Shalott?  // // She who
hath this garden laid // // —Nurturing the wayward seed, // // Plant
a group of people in evening dress, top
hats and the like, appropriate to some earlier era of the house’s exis
l rope-ladder, which // // we can then
haul up behind us, ready // // to defend against the next attack.  //
// // Bottle of water and lunch in my
haversack .  // // Climb by the obvious route from the valley, with //
e the decks to cool the wood // // Way-
hay , blow us away // // And pour a bucket on my head // // Give me s
the breathless sun beat down // // Way-
hay , blow us away // // And seek out any shade we can // // Give me
Adrift the middle of the sea // // Way-
hay , blow us away // // And there is nothing here for me // // Give
ps tomorrow there’ll be wind // // Way-
hay , blow us away // // And we can some direction find // // Give me
un all the sails up the mast // // Way-
hay , blow us away // // But we are bound for nowhere fast // // Give
izon’s clear from end to end // // Way-
hay , blow us away // // No hope of whistling up a wind // // Give me
ind! we wallow in the swell // // Way-
hay , blow us away // // The sails clatter as we roll // // Give me s
cchio, citron, calluna // // brassica,
hay , pelt, dove tale, pigeon // // mouse’s back, mole’s or elephant’s
/ // And yet you stay // // inside my
head , and take away my will // // to find a way.  // // The final fra
us away // // And pour a bucket on my
head // // Give me some wind to blow us away // // Perhaps tomorrow
he 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.  // /
// There remains a small bruise on my
head // // insufficient to send me to bed.  // // Just imagine the gr
Ede (he would pick up a Brancusi stone
head , or a small cut brass piece by Gaudier-Brzeska, and put it into o
// Now the one just ahead // // goes
head over heels // // on hard, unyielding // // rocks and stones, //
shrimp // // Do a boiler burn the duck
head .  // // The prefecture of river drives meal chicken, // // Olive
de, with the mud cliffs // // above my
head , the rest of the marsh // // is out of sight.  // //
g, no tail, but raised high, // // and
head thrown back, I can dance.  // //
that I hear.  // // The words within my
head , what do they care?  // // They rattle round, and link, and split
s calling // // to face the town, runs
headlong for the bar, // // Breath the scents the sea-winds bring //
summer fronds // // rise far above our
heads .  In this bright green // // we wander, hacking out our paths,
st** resort to footnotes just to keep a
healthy handle on the case. // // * following the example of the che
s rhyme // // that even if my audience
hear it spoken aloud rather than seeing it on the page they will certa
never still.  Even in my sleep // // I
hear the ground-swell gently break and sift, // // pushing the shingl
// Across the wood, onto the beach.  We
hear // // the gulls, and faintly, far away, the churn // // of wave
ir lines.  The bows face seaward // //
Hear the marsh-birds calling // // against the current pushing strong
lackens, changes in the harbour; // //
Hear the marsh-birds calling // // at the bar the waves are washing o
lats and the sandbanks.  Listing // //
Hear the marsh-birds calling // // boats are stranded at their statio
ising waters reach and lift them // //
Hear the marsh-birds calling // // echoes of the distant sea-swell ro
egins its steady, slow accretion // //
Hear the marsh-birds calling // // in places it has lost, reoccupatio
s another lingering turn, begins // //
Hear the marsh-birds calling // // retreating back the way it came, r
out, the creek a gentle trickle // //
Hear the marsh-birds calling // // the drying sand with muddy spots b
turns the boats around once more // //
Hear the marsh-birds calling // // to face the town, runs headlong fo
e saltmarsh channels water rises // //
Hear the marsh-birds calling // // to the edges of the sea-grass—paus
trickle.  On the soft, receding // //
Hear the marsh-birds calling // // water’s edge, the birds are search
// // and soft voice says // // I can
hear the sea.  // //
No voices in the almost-silence that I
hear , // // the soft subliminal sibilance of night.  // // December s
No voices in the almost-silence that I
hear , // // the soft subliminal sibilance of night, // // no words,
no voices in the almost-silence that I
hear .  // // The words within my head, what do they care?  // // They
rearing up, up, turning over // // and
hear them crashing down.  // // What is this cataclysm?  // // Now the
// // tried to forget // // tried to
hear // // tried to ignore // // tried to learn // // tried to live
e, still // // to find a way.  // // I
hear you say, // // “But life is for the living, do not kill // // a
/ // — // // A writer read, a speaker
heard , // // at every word a choice has made.  // // Those that they
n that attactive girl be?  // // I have
heard the mermaids singing, each to each.  // // I do not think that t
world just so, // // a pretty maiden,
heart aglow // // will sit and spin, so full of grace, // // far awa
phonist left behind.  // // This is the
heat -death of the universe; // // the restaurant has closed, // // a
// // by gas, with open fires the only
heat .  // // The lino on the hall floor had been laid // // in ninete
penny.  // // Brandy, a candle:  // //
heat till it catches fire, // // pour out the blue flame.  // // Afte
aze.  // // Even now, // // I feel the
heat upon my face.  // // Twenty three years later, when my mother die
ed, // // reaching out to colonise the
heath , // // at war with the bracken.  // // No fruit here—the thorns
’s brown bracken // // that covers the
heath .  // // On magic carpet // // the Prince of Crim Tartary // //
fir-trees lies // // a bracken-covered
heath .  The summer fronds // // rise far above our heads.  In this br
ld winds of autumn, on the wild Suffolk
heath , // // the wild Suffolk blackberries // // of my childhood rem
ll slanting across the moor, // // the
heather and the bracken, the moss, the lichen, // // the cropped gras
e buses which boosted my ego—the // //
Heatherwick’s sure to produce a fine plan.  // // We also need money—o
silly, that’s just the plumbing—a pipe
heating up.  // // That breath of air?  A passing presence?  // // Don
aying attention, I // // stumble, fall
heavily forward and land with my // // shin on a knife-edge of rock t
// The all-clear // // // Blitz.  The
heavy bombers, lighter now, // // are droning back towards their base
he road.) Sometimes at night, // // a
heavy goods train rattles the windows and plates // // on the shelves
news // // // Five days after Charlie
Hebdo , I learn // // that something is growing at the tail end of my
aged around me?  // // Or was it just a
hedge , backwards?  // // Yesterday I was told: it looks clear.  // //
know, the rain and the air?  // // The
hedgerow , the field, the rapeseed and the corn.  // // The five-bar ga
t.  Buzzards fly // // Above the weedy
hedgerows , by // // The once-proud towers of Camelot.  // // Few peop
rows.  // // We love the flowers in the
hedgerows // // no matter what the season of the year.  // // At any
o fast // // to see the flowers in the
hedgerows .  // // We love the flowers in the hedgerows // // no matte
he one just ahead // // goes head over
heels // // on hard, unyielding // // rocks and stones, // // falls
d lodgers.  Daughter born // // at the
height of the Luftwaffe’s // // blitz on Sheffield.  // // In north A
tide, I would be floating // // at the
height of the marsh, or maybe over it.  // // But today we are in the
erved that her natu- // // ral son and
heir // // was Tony Blair.  // // Nigel Farrage // // has a mouth li
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 !  // //
w disease.  // // They seem to want our
help , but they can whistle // // as well for wind: we care not a titt
ly, that’s … omigod, it’s a cockroach! 
Help !  Help!  // //
m with me wherever I wander… but // //
help !  They are missing, I must have mislaid them when // // finding
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,
rfectability except our own.  // // But
Henri’s pieces rattle too and shake // // our sense of part and whole
o small raised triangles // // of city
herbage in city clag // // —a handful of trees, bulbs // // and othe
ng: can we doubt // // that somewhere
herein lies some deep philosophy?  // // Voices, ipods, phones speak o
g 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
lt cheated by // // that twenty-minute
hiatus .  // // But the fire bore us no grudge, // // and welcomed us
ainst this, a certain toughness, // //
hidden , but evident in the number, // // best expressed Roman fashion
ets.  // // From the bed the window was
hidden // // but from the table we could see // // a triangle of bac
ing through, // // maybe chancing on a
hidden hollow which // // will make a temporary home, until // // th
seven-mile climb // // brings us to a
hidden jewel lake, // // soup-spoon-shaped, still half-covered // //
nks, godwits, curlews search // // for
hidden treasure, long beaks buried full // // to probe deep down bene
d flower into coloured flesh // // and
hide a secret inside.  // // Feel the air.  Turn in the four winds.  Bro
old pair somewhere on one of the passes
high above Borrowdale in what was then still Westmorland.  It wasn’t v
of the winter storm.  // // The tide is
high , and every wave tries hard // // to breach the wall.  And when i
h no arms, one leg, no tail, but raised
high , // // and head thrown back, I can dance.  // //
/ casts patterns of light on the // //
high bedroom ceiling.  // //
ewed // // in magazines, on billboards
high displayed, // // each model posed in languid attitude, // // in
ingle, perhaps // // (when the tide is
high enough) // // as far the cliff.  The wind // // whips the spume
/ // The second had one window, rather
high — // // from the bed all I could see was sky.  // // But rising g
of cast-iron supports for an old // //
high -level lavatory cistern, wonderfully // // ornate.  A pump and va
/ // open moor // // deep lake // //
high mountain // // wide sea // // close forest // // by lake and s
Sharp lines // //
High overhead, the geese are flying out // // on their twice-a-day mi
dominant sound // // is continuous and
high -pitched.  The borders we cross are eastward: // // under the cha
ave the same effect.  // // On a spring
high tide, I would be floating // // at the height of the marsh, or m
day we are in the neaps: // // even at
high tide, with the mud cliffs // // above my head, the rest of the m
Reflections // //
High up above, at the edges of the air // // and the beginning of spa
ne.  // // A red balloon, // // way up
high , // // with crescent moon // // from cold immune.  // // Let sn
// disturbing our roll, // // getting
higher and closer.  // // And the noise.  // // A few ranks ahead, I s
ir, // // clear to my vantage point on
higher ground.  // // Voices far across the valley sound.  // // The h
s of trees // // that once grew on the
hill above, // // and bits of buildings, human artifacts.  // // Geol
s the creek // // and had a go at East
Hills .  // // A once in a century storm, // // that was thought to be
ht-beams almost horizontal; // // East
Hills aglow.  // // Winds moaning round the corners and the rooftops,
wels; just the old // // and weathered
hills , created by some force // // beyond imagination; and of course
// Yes, there will be more.  // // More
hills , dales, crags, beaches // // more boat or cycle rides // // mo
iterates a pattern // // as old as the
hills // // each iteration // // shifts the sand, carves the coastli
East
Hills // // Hills?  Well, dunes // // maybe two or three metres abov
far across the valley sound.  // // The
hills ranged all around // // —they little care.  // // Voices far ac
lleys, moors and dales, meadows, // //
hills , ravines descending, under the sky.  // // Oceans, rivers, narro
East Hills // //
Hills ?  Well, dunes // // maybe two or three metres above // // mean
/ // 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
// a real live snake, standing up and
hissing // // at our approach.  We turn tail and flee // // as fast
e cups // // more tragedies, comedies,
histories // // more shapes, more colours, more darknesses // // mor
d some common course, // // or bend or
hitch or bead?  // // Some earlier occasion when // // our life-lines
rth by northwest?  That was just // //
Hitchcock’s joke.  // //
paper // // dated 1933 // // the year
Hitler came to power).  // // Then we get on with our lives: // // th
// // to breach the wall.  And when it
hits just right // // the spray rises a mile into the air // // (or
away, // // the thud as one more apple
hits the muddy grass.  // // East wind // // Winds bowling through tr
care not to spill // // your precious
hoard (I mean the ones you will deliver // // for tomorrow’s blackber
But perhaps instead I will go the whole
hog , the full nine yards: turn the paper onto its side and write each
word-filled well.  // // That book will
hold against your ear a shell // // whose music makes your languid pu
t, you think // // ‘This time, it will
hold my weight.’  // // But every step it drops you down // // into s
s, giant but gentle.  // // Soft digits
hold softly, lift softly // // place softly against another softness
lives there.  // // An inflated bulb to
hold // // the other two in place.  // // Subjective // // Discomfor
e.  // // (One time, though, the hollow
holds // // a real live snake, standing up and hissing // // at our
here?  // // Some object or event which
holds her stare?  // // Or is it just the clarity of light, the glowin
defence // // drops thirty feet into a
hole .  // // Cambridge, circa 1966 // // One cold winter’s afternoon
Channel Tunnel link.  // // A monstrous
hole , quite big enough to eat // // the park and all the houses down
l announced that it would sink // // a
hole to build the Channel Tunnel link.  // // A monstrous hole, quite
// // a perfect workbench—the cuts and
holes and scars // // from saws and hammers and screwed-on wood- //
go: click-clack click-clack.  // // On
holiday by train!  Vast hall // // of city station, noisy, full // /
On Skiddaw // //
Holiday cottage, the edge of the Lake District— // // family wanting
/ // And so, for two successive summer
holidays , // // we chopped and sawed and dug and then set fire to //
dventure.  // // (One time, though, the
hollow holds // // a real live snake, standing up and hissing // //
cient oaks // // (one blasted trunk is
hollow through, and can be climbed // // inside) mark out the sandy/g
ough, // // maybe chancing on a hidden
hollow which // // will make a temporary home, until // // the next
ay, // // coursing the straits and the
hollows , // // meandering across meadows, // // from a spring it flo
rhaps I should plant // // some box or
holly .  // //
glazed back door // // through box and
holly grown to full maturity // // to an iron-gated pointed arch //
produce of our labours.  // // A box or
holly root, smouldering slowly, // // will burn for ever.  The fire o
ered Cotswold stone.  // // The box and
holly // // were magnificent, but could not be allowed // // to rema
rfect knot // // and find ourselves at
home .  // //
s is too big, // // leaves for another
home .  // // Another rough softness.  // // Can this go on forever?  //
t line the shelves, // // and close to
home as well: they too can be // // as dumb as all of us, the gods th
w beginning: // // a different kind of
home // // here on the north Norfolk coast.  // // The wonder is that
st days of pain, // // another summer,
home in Camberwell.  // // Between the endpoints there were many days
.  // // And where’s that, when it’s at
home ?  // // It’s a level that the tide rushes past // // on its way
ng fellow rambler.  // // Marry, find a
home // // on the very edge of Sheffield // // facing the Derbyshire
ted // // the reject to us for our new
home .  Or was it // // not until seven years later, the year that her
// // It’s Jan, not June.  // // Back
home soon // // warm and dry.  // // A crescent moon.  // // It’s Jan
hair, // // staying in place until at
home // // the small gas fire has warmed the room // // against the
.  Six-year-old Emily visits.  // // At
home , two days later, // // she says to her dad // // “Judith is a p
llow which // // will make a temporary
home , until // // the next adventure.  // // (One time, though, the h
, // // thick felted wool, a monk-like
hood — // // and with (the most important thing) // // those wooden t
// That’s not in the book, to swallow a
hook .  // // He swallowed the hook to recover the net.  // // You’d sc
// He swallowed the string to catch the
hook .  // // That’s not in the book, to swallow a hook.  // // He swal
swallow a hook.  // // He swallowed the
hook to recover the net.  // // You’d scarcely bet he’d swallow a net.
oor.  // // Tables, shelves, cupboards,
hooks , drawers.  // // Places I wouldn’t have put them.  // // Move an
// masonry nails, screw-eyes, picture
hooks // // wallplugs, rivets, self-tapping metal screws, // // rubb
/ // and nuts and bolts and screws and
hooks // // were saved from all sorts of deconstructed // // objects
Société des Apaches // // (or Bunch of
Hooligans ) // // later to enrol, when they come to Paris // // Manue
ing, or // // should I stay put in the
hope of a rescuer?  // // Slowly I realise the pain is subsiding, the
// // Way-hay, blow us away // // No
hope of whistling up a wind // // Give me some wind to blow us away /
// 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-gl
er.  // // At intervals along the south
horizon // // container ships in stately progress pass // // destine
, low, // // yellow light-beams almost
horizontal ; // // East Hills aglow.  // // Winds moaning round the co
the sixth and seventh periods, short of
horizontal space, // // we must** resort to footnotes just to keep a
ive me some wind to blow us away // //
Horizon’s clear from end to end // // Way-hay, blow us away // // No
he goat // // // I am transfixed as a
horned goat // // charges towards me // // from beyond the pale, und
one // // a stately ram, great curved
horns // // stands tense, alert and staring.  A few // // feet away,
rollicking verse // // On a galloping
horse — // // But Aix was as far as he went.  // // In Friday Market s
w pane.  // // There was an overcrowded
hospital .  // // There were the children to look after— // // there w
oices human, animal, machine.  // // In
hospital // // Voices from the curtained bed next door: // // someon
the sun, // // bright spot, turn white
hot and burn.  // //
// spot // // turn // // white // //
hot // // and burn.  // // Tanka // // Bend the light just so // //
uff? // // —spinning around one of the
hot yellow bits // // way out here in the remoter backwaters // // o
// // the start, the lobby of a Greek
hotel // // in summer, where we met and all was well; // // the end,
he could without worry // // take the
hottest Currie.  // // Gordon Brown // // replaced his frown // // w
// It’s becoming quite clear that the
hour // // for soft pussy-footing is past.  // // It can’t be a stude
uch sense in what he says.  // // Small
hour // // No voices in the almost-silence that I hear, // // the so
ain.  // // One afternoon for one brief
hour // // the air is warm enough to melt // // the topmost layer. 
But he was dead: // // had died three
hours after his arrival, // // was buried in an unmarked grave.  // /
en’t passed walkers for more than three
hours now.  // // When are they likely to send out a search party?  //
uter edge, contains our own // // tree-
house , a canted deck of ancient planks, // // nailed across two angle
as been ploughed, the edges fenced, the
house // // demolished and rebuilt.  The trees remain.  // //
roducing six of us.  // // L-shaped the
house ; enclosed within its arms // // a walled garden, left untended
e for a while // // to take him to the
house .  // // I always regretted, felt cheated by // // that twenty-m
// // The sitting room of our
house in Peckham, the walls stripped and undecorated, but with marks a
1 // // Of eighteen sixty vintage, the
house is flat // // in face, no sign of the deep bay windows that //
// Later, my mother will describe the
house itself // // as ugly.  No such thought would cross my five- //
/ // piercing the wall, built like the
house // // of weathered Cotswold stone.  // // The box and holly //
rush marks in a darker paint, made by a
house -painter cleaning his brush after painting some woodwork.  Judith
// were scrapped and redesigned.  The
house still stands.) // //
1969.  // // A small Victorian terrace
house // // stuccoed and flat-fronted.  // // No electricity— // //
: // // the large, dilapidated country
house // // that is my mother’s next big venture after // // produci
// // the damp basement of the Peckham
house // // that we bought some forty years ago.  // // One of the le
ot to feel safe // // until inside the
house .) // // The bracken spreads across a gentle slope // // toward
rth another try.  A son.  // // Council
house the other side of Sheffield.  // // Polish husband transforms in
ens, full of trees.  // // In our first
house together // // the bedroom was again first floor front.  // //
nine.  // // In nineteen sixty nine the
house was lit // // by gas, with open fires the only heat.  // // The
f deconstructed // // objects: defunct
household gadgets, // // broken furniture, shelves no longer // // s
Housepaint // // The depths of south London, 1969.  // // A small Vic
floors?  // // I cannot say.  // // The
houses , and their rooms and halls // // and whether it was night or d
ough to eat // // the park and all the
houses down the street.  // // We joined the local protest, but to sma
ed gully.  // // The street between the
houses , the streetlight, // // the sign on the wall, the sign on the
; Sherlock Court; Sherlock Close // //
houses ; yards; curbs // // One to fifty:  Ground floor // // Bedroom
appropriate to some earlier era of the
house’s existence.  We left the room unpainted for the best part of th
t.  And rising left // // the Cape Cod
house’s painted clapboard side.  // // At centre, as if growing from t
ers, song-birds, // // waders, hunters
hovering under the sky.  // // People, people round the world—and I, /
ely in front.  // // The wind is angry,
howling and shrieking.  // // It pushes us harder, // // makes us gro
t, or black and white, // // or autumn
hues , or shades of grey— // // the colours that I saw last night //
ses permeate the air // // with voices
human , animal, machine.  // // An owl, a leaping fish, a fox afar— //
ses permeate the air // // with voices
human , animal, machine.  // // In hospital // // Voices from the curt
ll above, // // and bits of buildings,
human artifacts.  // // Geological time // // is foreshortened.  This
sibilance of night, // // no words, no
human language in my ear, // // no voices in the almost-silence that
dragon, flying low, // // will seek a
human sacrifice, // // far away and long ago.  // // A handsome princ
rtened.  This is now, here, // // real
human time.  // //
harbours // // One to one million two
hundred and fifty thousand:  Low Countries // // Gelderland; Glabbeek
d // // a century ago and // // three
hundred and forty miles // // to the south-west: // // marked by a b
January Nineteen
Hundred and One // // The century turns.  // // Right on cue, Queen V
tions; drained land // // One to three
hundred and sixteen thousand eight hundred:  Scotland // // Dufftown;
/ // One to sixty three thousand three
hundred and sixty:  Truro and Falmouth // // Mevagissey; Mingoose; Mab
ases; playing fields // // One to five
hundred :  Block plan // // Sherlock Road; Sherlock Court; Sherlock Clo
ntain // // hundred-year forest // //
hundred -million-year sea // // ten-thousand-year lake // // thousand
hree hundred and sixteen thousand eight
hundred :  Scotland // // Dufftown; Deeside; Dumfries // // roads; vi
ight // // it pulls the final prop.  A
hundred yards // // of man’s best effort at defence // // drops thir
// // ten-million-year mountain // //
hundred -year forest // // hundred-million-year sea // // ten-thousan
e back.  // // On the cornices // // a
hundred years of whitewash.  // // We wire from scratch, // // plumb,
kespeareline. // // * pronounced ’four
hundred ’ // //
and D is now called up.  // // First to
Hunmanby on the north-east Yorkshire coast // // for the requisite sq
nd of salt-marsh // // where barn-owls
hunt their prey.  But not for long // // —impermanence’s permanence t
s, warblers, song-birds, // // waders,
hunters hovering under the sky.  // // People, people round the world—
other side of Sheffield.  // // Polish
husband transforms into // // Yorkshire male, expecting // // tea on