Monday 27 April 2015

Peter Riley's Due North (Shearsman, 2015), third and final selection

My thanks go to Tony Frazer, editor at Shearsman Books, and Peter Riley, for allowing me to post so many quotations. Here's a final round of favourite passages from Riley's new collection:

...they asked us what songs we'd brought with us.


We'll evict ourselves when we need to.


from "VII. Lateral Spread and Forward March. Erwartung. Préludes."

Apocalypse too is lullaby.  

from IX

That name I was, blown away in cloud as this life must flit

with the winged seed driven under the stone, calling in vain for respite. 


Break the lifeline down to the pain and

desire that everyone knows. There is nowhere else. There is nowhere else

to be or speak. The earth enters you back into its folds unsatisfied, there

is no other song; there is only September, when the falling year offers us

everything there is, and teaches us to measure the distance. 


A network of bright lines falls over experience, like a field system, breaking

the grip of totality as the wave breaks on the shore or the air on the

mountain side. In and across these polygons we attach principles and

mitigate conflict. It is painful walking downhill on stones with exhausted

calves but script will bear us to the end.


Language failed him.

As it fails us all, and we tighten the cord on the tent flap asking sleep

come shine along. 

from "XI. The Ascent of Kinder Scout"

Who comes in the form of a black dove

and flies into the future?


How am I to resolve the contradictions? Parts of the brain

close down and the music touches the heart. But to rescue us

We need the mind entire. The mind the place the night the river

the stars the black bird and the wine. We cannot afford wine

Or toffee, or mother's milk. All flesh is as grass but

we can't afford grass. Yours faithfully.

from "XII. Angel Meadow"

1 comment:

  1. This is a wonderful book. I bought it from a Shearsman stall (at States of Independence) in mid-March, and couldn't stop reading it.