Wednesday 12 August 2015

Lee Harwood's The Orchid Boat (Enitharmon, 2014)

Some favourite passages from Lee's last book:

Without thinking
I step aboard the orchid boat,
the feel of silk
carrying me beyond all mirrors.

last stanza of "Departures"

A wall of dense fog ahead
--blocked, all knowledge denied.
'The flying bird brings the message.'
What message from out there?
('Chirpy chirpy cheep cheep' doesn't help much.)

opening stanza of "Ornithology"

She climbed down from the tree a queen.
As we all do, and then set out
across golden stubble to the river.

from "The Books"

But the night not that frightening,
the landscape well known despite the strangeness.
Been-here-before one way or another.
To push on past weariness, but with so much baggage. 

from "Paleontology"

Through the mirror that other world,
almost like this? The colours maybe softer?
the world there harsher? The strangeness,

both sides, of a face, a scene.
What's there before and beyond the glass,
but somehow outside. Beyond the fear.

from "Ben's Photo"

Centuries ago the sages plod up the ivory mountain,
up rock-cut steps, past battered pines,
to the summit shrine to pay their respects, 
mist in the valley below, a soft breeze. 


What's to be seen in the old woman's curio cabinet?
Ivory carvings, plates, cups, and a blue glass sugar-shaker. 
We just don't know the full story.

from "Sailing Westwards"

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