Sunday 5 July 2009

Roy Fisher's The Thing About Joe Sullivan: Poems 1971-1977

Into the purpose: or out.
There is only, without a tune.
timelessness of desire.


What's now only disproved
was once imagined.

first and last stanzas of "Timelessness of Desire"

The light is in the earth if anywhere. This is already the place where it was. We've hardly started, and I want to do it again.

last stanza of "At Once"

Beyond him
a dissolution of my darkness
into such forms
as live there in the space
beyond the clear image of an owl:

forms without image;
pointless to describe.


I saw what there was to write and I wrote it.
When it felt what I was doing, it lay down and died under me.


The kites are the best sort of gods,
mindless, but all style;

even their capriciousness,
however dominant,
not theirs at all.


The pilgrim disposition--

domestic to-ing and fro-ing
uncoiled and elongated 
in a dream of purpose.


Everything still along its level

except the middle zone, the harbour water,
turbulent with the sunlight
even in calm air.


Instead there is blankness
and there is grace:

the insistence of the essential,
the sublime made lyrical
at the loss of what's forgotten.

last two stanzas of "Some Loss"

On a ground remarkable for lack of character, sweeps of direction form.

first stanza of "A Poem Not a Picture"

                                      I can
compare what I like to the salts,
to the pot, if there's a pot,
to the winter if there's a winter.

The salts I can compare
to anything there is.

last two stanzas of "The Only Image"

If you're living
any decor
can make a wraith of you.

last stanza of "Corner"

                  --the turn
where here and there
change places, the moment
always a surprise: 

on an ordinary day a brief,
lightness, charm between realities;

on a good day, a break
life can flood in and fill.


Getting home--getting home somehow,
late, late and small.


The cemetery's a valley
of long grass set with marble,
separate as a sea.


the din compelling
but irrelevant
has the effect of a silence


Travesties of the world
come out of the fog
and rest on the boundary.

"Handsworth Liberties"

Whose is the body you
remember in yourself?


The light. The rain. The eye. The rainbow--
horizons form, random and inevitable as rainbows
over bright fields of change.

"Inscriptions for Bluebeard's Castle"

Horizons release skies. 


After a fair number of years the distasteful aspects of the whole business became inescapable. Our frustrations will die with us, their particular qualities unsuspected. Or we can make the concrete we're staring at start talking back.

"Rules and Ranges for Ian Tyson"

love's not often a poem.

"Of the Empirical Self and For Me"

It was still the same sunless afternoon,
no north or south anywhere in the sky.


                                    Some things
are lying in wait in the world, 
walking about in the world,
happening when touched, as they must.

"Staffordshire Red"

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