Friday 24 April 2015

Peter Sirr, The Rooms (Gallery, 2014)

Some favourite passages:

I want to lie in the atrium
of the museum of the fingertip
and touch, touch, touch.

last lines of "The Mapmaker's Song"

That clarity,
how everything blazed
in the undaunted light
of itself.

opening lines of "Robert Graves House, DeiĆ "

...but the sun is somehow still on the table, the book
turned over, the oil softening the bread....

from "Nando's Table"

..but here it is again
in November
the ice-sharp town....

from "Cold"

The room comes on
like another life, the alien

objects glitter, the fields outside
stretch into more than distance.


...and the undiluted life comes striding
giantly from the walls....

from "Home"

If there are foxes they are running, if the dead
have spilled from their fields they are here now
running headlong into the night.


There's not a blade of grass here that doesn't have your breath on it
before the sun burns you back to darkness again.


I could hardly walk to the end of the lane
without feeling my foolish life resist
the green song, the green light....


                                                                    My hands
fly through the years, touching everything.


                  ...and I knew
everything that ever lived was beating there
and I'd sleep forever in the din.


When the doors closed what I couldn't forget
was how there'd been such ease in it,
such a relieving lightness in the dissolving,
the self dividing, how we'd flocked
to the calling tables, and sat and ate and talked
to the living and the dead and looked across
at ourselves looking back, smiling, raising a glass.

from the long poem, "The Rooms"

And where did all this quiet come from?
Secretly the house collected it
and releases it now like a slap.

from "Quiet"

The drowned Ophelias come,
climbing up the banks
and crossing the miles of fields
to take their places:


We like our poetry
big and swaggery!
The dark theatre of the poem!
The proud flourish of the name!


How well do you know yourselves?
Do you have any idea
what knowledge floods in
when things get difficult?


No writer is an island,
least of all me.
I open my mouth
and dozens fall out.


Choose between the gunfire and the weather
or get them both: fly to the cursor, curl up in paper,
wear out the desk with risk after risk.

from "Audience with BB [Bertolt Brecht]"

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