Monday 20 April 2015

Peter Riley's Due North (Shearsman, 2015), second selection

Some favourite passages:

                                       Our old romances return

freshly laundered on the backs of migrant workers

from former colonies and recent war zones.


Take me into a war

where the compass point searches for the heart

and a continent gathers around a companionship of respite.


There is too much poetry, it infiltrates alien discourses.

The financial news is given out in metaphors and stage accents,

and only the initiated know what's happening


                                      ...when I consider

the termination of my life the owls call, meaning no harm,

and the northern windows rattle the windows.

A shrinking recess in the dark surface of place

holds such authenticity as is left. This stinking Eden (clarts etc.).

from "IV: Strangers Arriving. Soldiers Returning"

Like leaving school, a sudden cold field,

Yes/no questions: what are you going to be? (c1956)


Indeed we know we are nothing, our language is lies

       my sighs, my broken words, the sink of my passion

into inarticulacy, the everyday which is where we live

in which we are trapped

       Gentle shepherd, rain on the window

                 It is an honour.


Gentle fold in the hillside where we sit and sing

of the world's lapses....


                                                 We are not mad. Reality

is not hidden. We prove it, with our hands, at work, perfectly clean.

A bitter wind in the night, cold and damp infiltrates

the house through the walls

        hope through dreams of fear.


...the casual and cynical madness of the press.


...on railway bridges in Heaton Norris in wild

                     costumes of the soul with small notebooks....


                               We were told

          we were alone and refused to believe it....


I like this town                                    "I want to be remembered
I like its nervousness
I like being excluded                          as a blue cloud
I want to be forgotten
and melt back into company              in a white sky"


To reach the shining port of our melancholy

                  that levers us into a new world

                            through a darkness with an arch over the entrance

                                         reading "Work Makes You Tired".

from "V: Locospotters"

In sleep "we" is restored to the choral "I"

And the singing can start

the great chant of humanity suddenly unafraid

under contract, rights to offset duties


All' mein Wirkin, all' mein Leben
All my working, all my life
All my doing, all my finishing
                 devolves on you
attentive ear, shielded breast.


                    Events, lives, spinning into light or dark through dream

The grammar of our quest a squaring

of this spin, lakeside cabin in snow

from "III: Water Songs. Schubert/Goethe.
Mayakovsky the Russian Scarecrow"

No comments:

Post a Comment