Poems

Charles Olson is a Manx Shearwater Bird

A poem is energy transferred
from where the poet got it,
tiny crystals of magnetite around his eyes
enabling him to detect differences
in the earth’s magnetic field.

If he works in open or what can also
be called composition by field
his acute sense of smell may allow him
to follow all-over currents
as opposed to inherited line.

One perception must immediately lead
to a further perception.
and by star-gazing from his burrow
he creates his own celestial map
a high energy construct at all points,
an energy discharge.

 

(Charles Olson is a Manx Shearwater Bird is a found poem using cut-ups from Charles Olsen’s essay on projective verse and the RSPB Magazine.)

 

Blackbird

I pull from sound’s many gardens a worm,
a wriggling twitter repeated in thousands
the peaks quick and various as glossolalia,
never the same.

Quick, quick I must get this solo down
before the sun rises.

Wrong, do it again,
wrong,
the run of demisemi-quavers
sounds of a fiddle dipped in liquid,
a song called
called sunrise.

This is what I want to play
sunrise sunrise
in the spongey grass, listen carefully
to worm-slide, worm tremor,

my beak is tearing a glint of pink
as the last the bats flicker home

and the sun
will be here soon and all earth’s busy business

Quick, I need to get this solo down
I tear at the the grass, I tear at a song called sunrise
sounds like a fiddle dipped in liquid
a worming liquid spongey sound.

and when the sun rises with the chorus of cloud
and the orchestra of light
I will possess that dawn with my solo

(First broadcast on the Radia.FM network as part of the radio drama ‘The Assisi Machine’.)

Learning The Ropes

My ebay seller had no teeth in

when I got to the bungalow.

She demonstrated teddies

every neat stitch identical,

got the singer machine nattering

showed me the ropes. So easy

for her, so hard for me this

regularity, this hushed life

n a moorland town with all the

power of a sewing machine

totally under her control

while the stitches only

run

away from me.

 

(First published in the Moor Poets iv anthology.)

 

Mid-afternoon

I rollerskate in

but am soon seduced

into the fog-slow unrolling

of a day stretched out and sleepy in front of your black and white telly.

 

Always drawn

to the hearth and its tracklements,

lulled orange by the coals, I stay to see

the little couple come out the clock as the barometer clicks to rain.

 

Afternoons

drip by, awaiting

kettle whistle, ice-cream van chime

waiting for you to leave the room so I can shake the bell in the brass lady’s dress.

 

You shake the tin

of Nestles for three languid minutes,

ease off the lid with liver-spotted hands

and sliding the cream over Coop pear or peach halves, smile at me

 

and these afternoons last forever

until they don’t.

 

(First published in the Moor Poets iv anthology).

 

St Davids

Our father who art in heaven,

Newton Abbot, Totnes and Plymouth

Hallowed be thy name

this is Dave your station manager speaking

Thy kingdom come

on platform 5

is the delayed 15.23 service to Bristol Temple Meads and

Thy will be done

On earth as it is in heaven

first class is located at the front of the train

Give us this day our daily bread

the buffet car serving snacks and light refreshments is located in coach E

And forgive us our trespasses

trespassing on the tracks is strictly prohibited

As we forgive those who trespass against us

any suspicious behaviour will be reported to the authorities

Lead us not into temptation

customers are reminded that smoking is strictly prohibited within the station

But deliver us from evil

Swindon

For thine is the Kingdom

Windsor Lego Land

The power and the glory

London Waterloo

ladies and gentlemen, the 15.23 service to Bristol Temple Meads is now delayed

For ever and ever

customers seeking a refund are advised to speak to one of

Amen.