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.

O

cloppy sea // // Lose pay cap, // //
O palace spy.  // // Lay pop case // // plea as copy.  // // Ape caly
/ towards the river.  A line of ancient
oaks // // (one blasted trunk is hollow through, and can be climbed /
le-dunes protects // // a calmer green
oasis , band of salt-marsh // // where barn-owls hunt their prey.  But
rder to allow Judith to sit down.  They
obey her, all shapes and sizes of New Yorkers, like lambs.  It is a me
Is there something there?  // // Some
object or event which holds her stare?  // // Or is it just the clarit
t capricorn.  // // Catheter // // //
Objective // // An exobladder.  // // Strapped to my thigh // // wit
// An abrogation of my autonomy.  // //
Objective // // In my groin and in my mind’s eye:  // // A tube insid
Yellow liquid flows.  // // Subjective/
objective // // Tap left open.  // // Oh bugger!  // // The other sid
ce.  // // Pain? no, not really.  // //
Objective // // Yellow liquid flows.  // // Subjective/objective //
from all sorts of deconstructed // //
objects : defunct household gadgets, // // broken furniture, shelves n
e; // // rather, look forward to final
oblivion — // // when the time comes, I might add, not just yet.  // /
.  My // // family playing, completely
oblivious .  // //
icians…  // // Margaret Thatcher // //
observed that her natu- // // ral son and heir // // was Tony Blair.
ew York woman, sitting on a bench seat,
observes the situation, and promptly, busily, without rising from her
// The fall drew blood.  // // No such
obvious culprit here, // // except for age, pure and simple.  No rage
can mark its end with such a strong and
obvious rhyme // // that even if my audience hear it spoken aloud rat
ch in my haversack.  // // Climb by the
obvious route from the valley, with // // Derwent behind me and scram
dge crematorium, // // dressed for the
occasion , // // we read the flower-borne messages // // and talked t
d or hitch or bead?  // // Some earlier
occasion when // // our life-lines must have crossed, // // some pas
wind feeds us, makes us strong.  // //
Occasionally , I catch glimpses // // of the ranks ahead.  // // But m
h dittoed offspring.  Yet it will // //
occasionally not breed true.  Now strife: // // the different dittoes
the newsprint said.  // // The previous
occupant , known as Mister Gray, // // (easier than his proper name of
ould not be allowed // // to remain in
occupation of that space.  // // And so, for two successive summer hol
wild wind // // and borne on the blue
ocean .  // // In the beginning I am small and playful, like the wind. 
oing?  // // Something is changing: the
ocean // // is bottomless no longer.  // // I feel something // // n
// One to forty-five million:  Pacific
Ocean // // Marianas Trench, Macquarie Ridge, Mendocino Seascarp //
s and the darkness by night, // // the
ocean , the blue-green-grey-black ocean, // // the bottomless, endless
// the ocean, the blue-green-grey-black
ocean , // // the bottomless, endless ocean.  // // Where are we going
k ocean, // // the bottomless, endless
ocean .  // // Where are we going?  // // Something is changing: the oc
vines descending, under the sky.  // //
Oceans , rivers, narrow channels, torrents, // // tarns, and streams s
at to fend off the rain.  // // What an
odd game—to swallow the rain!  // // He swallowed the rain to put out
uriet) // // had come as a child sixty-
odd years before // // (well before the start of the first world war)
Ode to the yeast wind // // flour, water, mix well // // mollycoddle
il the following night at least.  // //
Odysseus ' sirens, of course // // can offer no such message.  Theirs
Odysseus' sirens, of course // // can
offer no such message.  Theirs // // is a one-way invitation to the r
paper, dip-pen, ink.  // // Branch post
office , penny stamp.  // // I love you.  // // Papered bedsit.  Send a
// with a still?  Local // // excise
officer takes to // // dropping by unannounced.  // // Catch them at
and fill // // the world with dittoed
offspring .  Yet it will // // occasionally not breed true.  Now strife:
it that // // this latter-day fruit so
often disappoints?  // // Did I just dream the taste?  // // But no. 
ntieth-century American poet, // // Mr
Ogden Nash, and carry on without much attention to metre, until I can
w in hell did he evade the line?  // //
Oh bugger!  Now we have to get away.  // //
/objective // // Tap left open.  // //
Oh bugger!  // // The other side // // // What was it, then, from wh
// // // // // shave again // //
oh lord // // take train // // rough grain // // sharp blade // //
Post truth // // // ‘
Oh Mirror that hangs on the wall // // who is the fairest of all?’  //
and snot and sweat and spittle.  // //
Oh , people spread!  Quick, guys, an ecstasy of fumbling, // // buildi
il or pen or charcoal, // // paints in
oils on hardboard.  // // — // // 1973.  Six-year-old Emily visits.  /
// // We are not so far behind.  // //
Old age ain’t no place for sissies.  // // —Bette Davis // //
no gems nor coins nor jewels; just the
old // // and weathered hills, created by some force // // beyond im
g // // reiterates a pattern // // as
old as the hills // // each iteration // // shifts the sand, carves
ickering light.  // // Nearly-five-year-
old Colin // // needed a lavatory, and I had to leave the fire for a
dboard.  // // — // // 1973.  Six-year-
old Emily visits.  // // At home, two days later, // // she says to h
Limerick // // There was an
old Fellow of Girton // // who always made love with his shirt on.  //
Fancy that // // There was an
old fellow who swallowed his hat.  // // Just fancy that—swallowed his
for one more.  // // Now it happens my
old friend is crowned mayor of London, he // // goes by the rubrik of
passing cloud // // more meetings with
old friends // // more talks, more silences // // more sleeps, more
nd who were my companions, pray?  // //
Old friends, new friends did I meet?  // // I cannot say.  // // And w
// A pair of cast-iron supports for an
old // // high-level lavatory cistern, wonderfully // // ornate.  A
s shirt on.  // // Saying “Now that I’m
old , // // I do feel the cold— // // and my breathing is rather unce
s my five- // // or eight- or ten-year-
old imagination.  // // It stands within a grove of trees, a very few
they easily win—but // // there was an
old man called Michael Finnegan— // // crowds stopped by his strange
Beginagain // // There was an
old man called Michael Finnegan.  // // He grew whiskers on his chin—b
and comfort in—but // // there was an
old man called Michael Finnegan.  // // The wind came up and blew him
g, searching in—but // // there was an
old man called Michael Finnegan— // // thought his profile needed bro
n in a new pair of boots, we buried the
old pair somewhere on one of the passes high above Borrowdale in what
/ // swollen with spring melt.  But an
old pine forest // // always provides a bridge.  The trunks // // of
give it some taxpayer funding, and get
old saint // // George of the Chancel to throw in some too.”  // // S
e train // // whether vain // // same
old // // shave again // // it’s insane // // i’m bored // // take
the ashes // // in a wild part of the
old South London cemetery.  // // Perhaps I should plant // // some b
dream Dale Journey // // From Ilkley’s
old stone bridge I trace a path // // against the stream, back up the
his dark night?  // // Not to return to
old // // ways—that age // // has passed.  What should // // we sal
r // // as we skip on the backs of the
older ones.  // // The wind grows steady and purposeful.  // // We for
re of river drives meal chicken, // //
Olive dish dried meat floss stir fries a leaf mustard.  // // The smal
rition?  // // Don’t be silly, that’s … 
omigod , it’s a cockroach!  Help!  Help!  // //
blime— // // Britten’s Ceremony or the
ones from Kings.  // // If I can filter out the rest, the aural grime,
blime, // // Britten’s Ceremony or the
ones from Kings.  // // What the thunder said // // Whipped wide awak
, three and two.  // // But for the two
ones I must cheat. // // … a steal…  // // Rage, // // rage // // a
at the seventh layer consists mostly of
ones that do not exist // // but need‡ to be synthesised.  Some of th
// as we skip on the backs of the older
ones .  // // The wind grows steady and purposeful.  // // We form into
’s blackberry-and-apple pie // // —the
ones you ate straight off the bush are saved forever).  // // At the e
// // your precious hoard (I mean the
ones you will deliver // // for tomorrow’s blackberry-and-apple pie /
less I draw the line // // at dropping
onto Isaac’s head.  // // His inspiration is not mine // // (the appl
og, the full nine yards: turn the paper
onto its side and write each line // // in something approaching or a
e sky is clear.  // // Across the wood,
onto the beach.  We hear // // the gulls, and faintly, far away, the
d of me.  // // Out of the pastures and
onto the fell side, still // // climbing the contours and catching my
ay from our tops, // // drives us ever
onward .  // // Where are we going, so fierce and so fast?  // // I kno
// Like the asteroid // // barrelling
onwards , to wipe us out in // // ten or a thousand or maybe a million
reveals the deep black mud // // which
oozes softly up between our toes.  Across the river // // lies the la
d.  Eastwards we turn, // // along the
open beach, in rich sea air.  // // Look up, look up, my love—the sky
n motion // // sun on skin // // door
open // // breathe in.  // // Now begin.  // //
e the house was lit // // by gas, with
open fires the only heat.  // // The lino on the hall floor had been l
year stream // // narrow stream // //
open moor // // deep lake // // high mountain // // wide sea // //
// Subjective/objective // // Tap left
open .  // // Oh bugger!  // // The other side // // // What was it,
clear air.  // // Beyond the scree the
open path leads on, // // a gentler walk, to bare bleak Malham Tarn. 
has come about, but to close // // an
open sore, renew our sense of // // time, rebuild the day.  // //
loured earths.  // // In forests and in
open spaces // // there are times // // when the imagination fires. 
he waxing light, the spring rain.  Throw
open // // the fire-coloured temptations, welcome in // // the roami
// has a mouth like a garage— // // he
opens it ever so wide // // and you can see all the junk inside.  //
Lockdown // // Here’s a first-rate
opportunity — // // Isolation for immunity— // // To indulge in the f
e choose from the following nine // //
options : if you want the tempest // // please press one; for love’s
es, // // not yet decipherable, // //
orange and penny.  // // Brandy, a candle: // // heat till it catches
stone // // twist to separate.  // //
Orange , lemon, lime: // // equatorially // // squeeze the juice //
road.  // // The walled paddock and the
orchard , // // the apple on the tree, the windfall in the grass.  //
r the weight.  // // Wander through the
orchard , watch // // the apple clusters sway, // // the clouds scud
// (bringing the cheque and the postal
order ).  // // Rhythmic verses with echoed refrain // // in the rhyth
her seat, makes everyone shuffle up in
order to allow Judith to sit down.  They obey her, all shapes and size
, and again in the Klondike in 1896, in
order to make proper San Francisco bread, prospectors would carry with
s are forming, breaking, forming // //
ordered chaos with a raucous song:  // // A thousand geese are flying
// for nails and screws.  At some more
ordered // // stage of my life (certainly long before // // the chil
h the sense is raw, // // to questions
orderly , while exuding care.  // // Voices from the curtained bed next
South London standoff // // An
ordinary suburban junction.  // // Narrow side road curves to join //
ollege // // Sergei Prokofiev and Carl
Orf // // still at school // // Aaron Copland and Kurt Weill // //
of those same firs // // looks vaguely
oriental .  // // Since then, of course, the bracken // // has been pl
drains // // One to ten:  Tiles // //
Ormeaux on Bastille; Ormeaux on Rioja; Ormeaux on Lagoon // // taps;
Ormeaux on Bastille; Ormeaux on Rioja;
Ormeaux on Lagoon // // taps; pipes // // One to one // // You are
ten:  Tiles // // Ormeaux on Bastille;
Ormeaux on Rioja; Ormeaux on Lagoon // // taps; pipes // // One to o
el lavatory cistern, wonderfully // //
ornate .  A pump and valves from a washing machine.  // // An electric
ty million:  Eurasia // // Kuril’skiye
Ostrova ; Kirgiz Step; Karakoram Ra // // countries; seas // // One t
rry wives of windsor, four; // // five
othello ; six for king lear; // // seven hamlet; eight macbeth; nine /
thus.  // // Some miles are ten, while
others swiftly pass.  // //
// that only roughly match the map.  At
others , though, // // we have to guess.  // // The woods are full of
r me, it is at least a Fire.  // // The
others too I love—Earth, Water, Air—but Fire // // is something else
he nuts it sheds) // // on the grove’s
outer edge, contains our own // // tree-house, a canted deck of ancie
be.  // // So perhaps they will // //
outlive us.  // //
again.  // // How many friends have you
outlived ?  Eventually // // the Sheffield ties become more tenuous, /
roach road to the Kröller-Müller museum
outside Amsterdam.  The Hermitage in Leningrad in Soviet days.  Kettle
warmed the room // // against the cold
outside .  // // (But that was forty years ago // // —these days his h
ght, the glowing // // grass and trees
outside her window, warming // // in the sun?  Or maybe nothing—maybe
// // The sun and wind upon the trees
outside …  // // I try to listen, but my musing strays.  // // His voic
an be measured by the level mark on the
outside of the kettle.  Never fill the kettle above the MAX level and
silly, that’s just a branch of the tree
outside , scraping the window.  // // That waft of scent?  A malodourou
s are missing // // from the sofa just
outside the door.  // // It really is very annoying— // // I hope we
rass, towards // // some distant point
outside the picture frame.  // // What does she see?  Is there somethi
front— // // Nails: tacks, panel pins,
ovals and round; // // Screws: small, size 6, size 8, large.  // // B
But when stewed overnight // // in the
oven of the pre-war Aga, they will emerge // // a startling deep red,
les.  // // Was I shipwrecked?  Or cast
overboard to avert shipwreck?  // // I cannot now recall.  // // Gener
ttered window pane.  // // There was an
overcrowded hospital.  // // There were the children to look after— //
th the rain teems down // // enough to
overflow // // the river Don and flood the plain.  // // The light is
d.  // // Rain rattles on the rooftiles
overhead // // and beats against the window with the wind.  // // Whi
understand // // the stars and planets
overhead // // as well as actions close at hand // // (the apple sai
Sharp lines // // High
overhead , the geese are flying out // // on their twice-a-day migrati
ading sailors // // ply back and forth
overhead .  Was I carried for trade?  // // Or in payment of taxes?  Or
// is hard as stone.  (But when stewed
overnight // // in the oven of the pre-war Aga, they will emerge //
oices human, animal, machine.  // // An
owl , a leaping fish, a fox afar— // // night-time noises permeate the
s, band of salt-marsh // // where barn-
owls hunt their prey.  But not for long // // —impermanence’s permane
string.  // // I must confess to having
owned // // long long ago, that icon of // // a time and maybe socia
d rounded as if on the shoulders of its
owner , but actually empty. // // The sitting room of our h
the sedge and the samphire, // // the
oyster -catcher, the egret, the gliding gull.  // // What do they know,
p the beach.  // // At water’s edge the
oyster -catchers, gulls // // compete for surface scraps.  The beach i
e longer, // // then follow suit; the
oystercatcher // // busily foraging across the bank // // lets me ge
t spell.  // // That book will take you
o’er a stormy fell // // with her who to her lover’s side makes haste
shoots may venture forth // // On weed-
o’er -run Shalott?  // // She who hath this garden laid // // —Nurturi