Andrew Motion | Diving


The moment I tire

of difficult sand-grains

and giddy pebbles,

I roll with the punch

of a shrivelling wave

and am cosmonaut


out past the fringe

of a basalt ledge

in a moony sea-hall

spun beyond blue.

Faint but definite

heat of the universe


flutters my skin,

quick fish apply

as something to love

what with their heads

of unworldly gold,

plankton I push


an easy way through

would be dust or dew

in the world behind

if that mattered at all,

which is no longer true,

with its faces and cries.

Les Murray | The Warm Rain


Against the darker trees or an open car shed
is where we first see rain, on a cumulous day,
a subtle slant locating the light in air
in front of a Forties still of tubs and bike-frames.


Next sign, the dust that was white pepper bared
starts pitting and re-knotting into peppercorns.
It stops being a raceway of rocket smoke behind cars,
it sidles off foliage, darkens to a lustre. The roof
of a bush barely leaks yet, but paper slows right down.


Hurrying parcels pearl but don’t now split
crossing the carparks. People clap things in odd salute
to the side of their heads, yell wit, dance on their doubles.
The sunny parallels, when opposite the light, have a flung look
like falling seed. They mass and develop a shore sound;
fixtures get cancelled, the muckiest shovels rack up.


The highway whizzes, and lorries put spin on vapour;
soon puddles hit at speed will arch over you like a slammed sea.
I love it all, I agree with it. At nightfall, the cause
of the whole thing revolves, in white and tints, on TV
like the Crab nebula; it brandishes palm trees like mops,
its borders swell over the continent, they compress the other
nations of the weather. Fruit bumps lawn, and every country dam


brews under bubbles, milky temperas sombering to oils.
Grass rains upward; the crêpe-myrtle tree heels, sopping crimson,
needing to be shaken like the kilt of a large man.
Hills run, air and paddocks are swollen. Eaves dribble like jaws
and coolness is a silent film, starring green and mirrors.
Tiny firetail finches, quiet in our climber rose, agree to it
like early humans. Cattle agree harder, hunched out in the clouds.
From here, the ocean may pump up and up and explode
around the lighthouses in gigantic cloak sleeves, the whole book
of foam slide and fritter, disclosing a pen shaft. Paratroops


of salt water may land in dock streets, skinless balloons
be flat out to queue down every drain, and the wind race
thousands of flags. Or we may just be chirpings, damped
under calm high cornfields of pour, with butter clearings


that spread and resume glare, hiding the warm rain
back inside our clothes, as mauve trees scab to cream
and grey trees strip bright salmon, with loden patches.

Michael Symmons Roberts | Through a Glass Darkly


Mist can be a form of mercy,
all precision gone, all detail lost.


Cataracted hawks hunt woods
for motion-blur, then stoop


into the slipstream of their prey.
I pray for days like these,


when cars are lit cortèges.
As for oceans, fog is respite


from the ache of holding surface
as a clear line named horizon.


Forensic summer gone, now we
live in close-up: flaked face of brick


frostbitten, verdigris and icicles
on statues. A world drawn tight.


Look up: stars are gone. It’s just us.

Sometimes at night this darkness, this silence, weighs on me. Peace frightens me. I’m afraid of peace more than anything else. To me it seems…that it’s only an outer shell and that hell is hiding behind it.

Dylan Thomas | In My Craft or Sullen Art


In my craft or sullen art
Exercised in the still night
When only the moon rages
And the lovers lie abed
With all their griefs in their arms,
I labour by singing light
Not for ambition or bread
Or the strut and trade of charms
On the ivory stages
But for the common wages
Of their most secret heart.

Not for the proud man apart
From the raging moon I write
On these spindrift pages
Nor for the towering dead
With their nightingales and psalms
But for the lovers, their arms
Round the griefs of the ages,
Who pay no praise or wages
Nor heed my craft or art.

Charles Bukowski | The Laughing Heart


your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is a light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
know them.
take them.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you.

Ted Hughes | September


We sit late, watching the dark slowly unfold:
No clock counts this.
When kisses are repeated and the arms hold
There is no telling where time is.


It is midsummer: the leaves hang big and still:
Behind the eye a star,
Under the silk of the wrist a sea, tell
Time is nowhere.


We stand; leaves have not timed the summer.
No clock now needs
Tell we have only what we remember:
Minutes uproaring with our heads


Like an unfortunate King’s and his Queen’s
When the senseless mob rules;
And quietly the trees casting their crowns
Into the pools.

R.S. Thomas | The Bright Field


I have seen the sun break through
to illuminate a small field
for a while, and gone my way
and forgotten it. But that was the
pearl of great price, the one field that had
treasure in it. I realise now
that I must give all that I have
to possess it. Life is not hurrying


on to a receding future, nor hankering after
an imagined past. It is the turning
aside like Moses to the miracle
of the lit bush, to a brightness
that seemed as transitory as your youth
once, but is the eternity that awaits you.

Louise Gluck | A Myth of Devotion


When Hades decided he loved this girl
he built for her a duplicate of earth,
everything the same, down to the meadow,
but with a bed added.


Everything the same, including sunlight,
because it would be hard on a young girl
to go so quickly from bright light to utter darkness


Gradually, he thought, he’d introduce the night,
first as the shadows of fluttering leaves.
Then moon, then stars. Then no moon, no stars.
Let Persephone get used to it slowly.
In the end, he thought, she’d find it comforting.


A replica of earth
except there was love here.
Doesn’t everyone want love?


He waited many years,
building a world, watching
Persephone in the meadow.
Persephone, a smeller, a taster.
If you have one appetite, he thought,
you have them all.


Doesn’t everyone want to feel in the night
the beloved body, compass, polestar,
to hear the quiet breathing that says
I am alive, that means also
you are alive, because you hear me,
you are here with me. And when one turns,
the other turns—


That’s what he felt, the lord of darkness,
looking at the world he had
constructed for Persephone. It never crossed his mind
that there’d be no more smelling here,
certainly no more eating.


Guilt? Terror? The fear of love?
These things he couldn’t imagine;
no lover ever imagines them.


He dreams, he wonders what to call this place.
First he thinks: The New Hell. Then: The Garden.
In the end, he decides to name it
Persephone’s Girlhood.


A soft light rising above the level meadow,
behind the bed. He takes her in his arms.
He wants to say I love you, nothing can hurt you


but he thinks
this is a lie, so he says in the end
you’re dead, nothing can hurt you
which seems to him
a more promising beginning, more true.

Alessandra Sanguinetti | Untitled

Alessandra Sanguinetti | Untitled

"A person can find anything if he takes the time, that is, if he can afford to look.

And while he’s looking, he’s free, and he finds things he never expected.”

Thom Gunn | Touch


You are already
asleep. I lower
myself in next to
you, my skin slightly
numb with the restraint
of habits, the patina of
self, the black frost
of outsideness, so that even
unclothed, it is
a resilient chilly
hardness, a superficially
malleable, dead
rubbery texture.

You are a mound
of bedclothes, where the cat
in sleep braces
its paws against your
calf through the blankets,
and kneads each paw in turn.

Meanwhile and slowly
I feel a is it
my own warmth surfacing or
the ferment of your whole
body that in darkness beneath
the cover is stealing
bit by bit to break
down that chill.

You turn and
hold me tightly, do
you know who
I am or am I
your mother or
the nearest human being to
hold on to in a
dreamed pogrom.

What I, now loosened,
sink into is an old
big place, it is
there already, for
you are already
there, and the cat
got there before you,
it is hard to locate.
What is more, the place is
not found but seeps
from our touch in
continuous creation, dark
enclosing cocoon round
ourselves alone, dark
wide realm where we
walk with everyone.

#Poetry  #Lit  #Thom Gunn  #Touch  

Anne Sexton | As It Was Written


Earth, earth, 

riding your merry-go-round

toward extinction, 

right to the roots, 

thickening the oceans like gravy, 

festering in your caves, 

you are becoming a latrine.

Your trees are twisted chairs.

Your flowers moan at their mirrors, 

and cry for a sun that doesn’t wear a mask.

Your clouds wear white, 

trying to become nuns

and say novenas to the sky.

The sky is yellow with its jaundice, 

and its veins spill into the rivers

where the fish kneel down

to swallow hair and goat’s eyes.

All in all, I’d say, 

the world is strangling.

And I, in my bed each night, 

listen to my twenty shoes

converse about it.

And the moon, 

under its dark hood, 

falls out of the sky each night, 

with its hungry red mouth

to suck at my scars.

Monochromie | Constellations

Seamus Heaney | The Otter


When you plunged

The light of Tuscany wavered

And swung through the pool

From top to bottom.

I loved your wet head and smashing crawl,

Your fine swimmer’s back and shoulders

Surfacing and surfacing again

This year and every year since.

I sat dry-throated on the warm stones.

You were beyond me.

The mellowed clarities, the grape-deep air

Thinned and disappointed.

Thank God for the slow loadening,

When I hold you now

We are close and deep

As the atmosphere on water.

My two hands are plumbed water.

You are my palpable, lithe

Otter of memory

In the pool of the moment,

Turning to swim on your back,

Each silent, thigh-shaking kick

Re-tilting the light,

Heaving the cool at your neck.

And suddenly you’re out,

Back again, intent as ever,

Heavy and frisky in your freshened pelt,

Printing the stones.