Stride Magazine - www.stridemagazine.co.uk

 

THE BLUE HAND
for Anthony Frost

Someone christened it an omen,
a sign of sorts others had gathered
From others theyíd known.
And one of them had heard something else.

Like the scraps of paper
all poems begin on,
like the scraps of paper
all poems become,

it was the colour that stayed in the cold:

A blue hand
A black sign if you like.
A bad spot.

Its index finger rubbed too hard
into the picture once, they reckoned.
Went green. They had the means
to find out more again,

but it was a case of lost dogs
in the stickiest mists of winter,
from the first trickle of the word
to the last mark of the dot.

A blue hand.
A black sign if you like.
A bad spot.




THE WHOLE OF THE TOWN
a view of St Ives

Every cell behind your eyes tells you
all the roofs are not only itching
at yellow but have actually turned that,
as the whole of the town looks the picture
of possibility, framing itself in light.

In
Fore Street, the house-tops are fields, valleys, hills,
The Digey, the quickest way to step straight out
of a gift-shop into the
Atlantic, as the beach
at
midnight wears the cold inside a fishermanís coat.
It gathers, granite, windsurf, driftwood, a lot.

Youíd think the waves would have got some kind of word
of marine blue by now but they never seem to;
as dots of sound in the harbour shift into sand,
circle around a wing circling a sphere.
Anyhow thatís the way I see it from here.




THE SAME SIDE
after W.S. Graham

Snuggle up. Snuggle up until
The rainís gone. The rain on
The side of your face.
Oh the rain
Comes and the rain goes
And every murmuring one of us knows
The rain canít disguise your face.

Get off. Donít talk to me
About rain. Cross over to the same side
Of the road that wants you. You
And your long-legged ways make every walk
We take the weariest sort of habit.
Say something not to do with rain.

Something that takes on a new view
Of space. Say something not to do
With rain. I dare you. Something about
Some other sort of place.
Or does that
Scare you so much that you canít even
Face up to the same side of your face?




BEHIND THE LINES
eight openings into a war poem

Where are the war poets
††††††††† Now the metreís changed,
The holy order
††††††††† Rearranged

From shoulder to shoulder,
††††††††† To paper to rock Ė
What is the word
††††††††† Or the time on the clock?

As the squeeze of a finger,
††††††††† Scratch of a pen,
Bury the news
††††††††† In fields of men

Whoíd seen it all
††††††††† Before, they said,
As blind as blood
††††††††† And as dead

As eyes behind a veil
††††††††† Dying to see
A little light
††††††††† Shed on the poetry

Of babies,
††††††††† Children of Song;
If itís not good itís bad,
††††††††† Not right as wrong

-Headed words from a bottle
††††††††† Designed to please
In three hundred and sixty
††††††††† Wraparound degrees

Of grinning wisdom,
††††††††† Over the head
Of someone who said what they meant
††††††††† And meant what they said.


†††††††††††††††††† © Phil Bowen 2002