Friday, 28 November 2008

New Second-Hand

Poetry Pivotal 2 - New Second-Hand

Walking through Soho in dry light,
top stories splashed in yellow sun,
difficult for digital these Winter days
in life-on-earth shadow of streets,

grave stone of Hazlitt in the church
garden, backs of Old Compton Street,
their bricks and windows; one, piled high
with books, is glinting high up.

The tomb, in splendid isolation
lies flat on the grass, a clean cut
oblong, could be a book on its side,
a tome, Libor Amoris at rest.

While I photograph I’m watched
by a gardener who’s almost invisible
amongst leaves, brooms and wheel barrows.
Once in the Summer, with a new second-hand,

I was trying to get the spire
in, crouching and pointing the lens
up through foliage at the sky,
and fell over backwards, rolled

laughing in the grass, while
sitters on the church-yard benches,
my public, kept their pose.
Now, it’s the man working and me.


Sunday, 16 November 2008

Documents for Poets


I call my current series: “Documents for Poets”: after consideration I decided for this, because it obliquely touches on the achievements of a famous photographer, who has been an inspiration to many.
The title is borrowed from the celebrated turn of the century Parisian photographer Eugene Atget whose images included Parisian precincts and suburbs where he sought and found relics and preserved masterpieces of a world that was disappearing rapidly. Much of what he depicted focused on the ordinary and everyday, which through his lens was mysteriously transformed to become dreamlike & iconic.
He referred to his photographs as “documents for artists.”
I therefore retrospectively dedicate my “Poetry Pivotal: documents for poets” to Eugene – a title I think he would have understood and tolerated.

Poetry Pivotal 1


In the window a canal,
bars spill out on the street;
no longer Summer, green September.

There are caravans of ants
on the pavement, trees, rooftops
and the bridge whose angles
pick up the sheen of grass;
pink dark glasses in the day
and glasses to drink from
at night. The motorway’s

curved boomerang shape;
a perfectly formed film star,
in an evening gown, steps
from a cracked walnut;

looking into the canal
her window glimmers.


Overarching the concrete and glass
of the station’s restaurants and shops,
Paddington’s still girders –
like elongated yellow bees
the trains reach for clover
and the barley fields.
Once this station was an actor
young and handsome in the Age of Steam.

The past is still doing
its double act with now:
up and down the escalators,
customers who were once passengers
alight at different levels,

and, ranged in a semicircle,
the Station Orchestra is amply playing
the music of the brass, as if
breasting a river somewhere deep,
where, each with its candle glowing,
ride tiny boats across the stream.