Issue 29: Peter Robinson

One Last Time

i.m. Kevin Jackson

Glimpsed through wistaria petals, laburnum,

see how chestnut candles flare

standing tall on their filled-out branches,

and with them invisible forms come

round the headstones at Cemetery Junction,

startled, in plain sight.

                                Just moments before,

a noticeboard poster with photos

had shown me, no, not missing or wanted

persons, they’re Green Councillors’

details for if you’re in need of the council,

or some counselling.

                              Even this diminished thing,

my three-parks-walk with graveyard

you know I wouldn’t be without it,

your death amongst more counted deaths

in deep-cut shadow cast by a yew

on paths to memorial corner.

                                           But now

though the cars will chase after each other

again, outside, at Cemetery Junction,

I know you wouldn’t be without it

especially if found now in plain sight

come round this headstone, from this quiet,

another invisible form, oh, this one.

10 May 2021





Poetry and Money

‘Is this called “Mercyside”?’

— Bob Dylan, Don’t Look Back

for Paul Lally

Flashes of seagulls’ wings in sunlight

white across a heaped-up cloud,

I watch them tumbling in flight

where beggars once could freely call

at this old, sold-off vicarage –

but now a slid-shut armoured gate,

an intercom, black railing spears

have been topped with razor-wire coil …

‘Beirut!’ is what you would exclaim

taking in council housing stock

or weed stalks sprung through every crack

on the far side of the carriageway.

‘There’s a poem here,’ as I speculate,

‘if I could only get inside to find it …’

equally secure against thief and poet

under the bright, estuarial sky.

Still looking back over these fifty years

to Garston docks’ container crane

and Wirral shore with mountain outline,

I find it on Banks Road or Long Lane

as tellers number coin in a feeling palm

this early, with that seagull’s cry

at stoplights, engine noise died down,

recounting such uncalled-for tears.                           





Given Directions

to Peter & Andrew’s

Beyond Rodi Luigi’s Italian café,

legendary, its name the same

though under new management, right,

we turn and find a terraced street

of planes trees with their mottled bark

like Wehrmacht camouflage …

Then, left, comes one of silver birch,

the Warner houses’ monogram

and every frontage customized,

while a bottle-green pub has adverts, still,

straight on through labyrinthine routes,

us given directions that first time.

But what will have come over me

below your local railway bridge

when past a lock-up garage

someone at work on his motor

tested the starter, which shook

convulsively under its hood?

On the road to take for Hartington Road,

it had to be remotest things

familiar once, unexpectedly back

by the railings of a park,

grassed agoraphobic distances,

street names where the road-signs mark

how stubborn survivals show

not that far from Blackhorse Road

and Rodi Luigi’s Italian café,

legendary, its name the same,

which we had revisited on our way. 



[In celebration of Peter Robinson’s seventieth year in 2023, Two Rivers Press will publish a new collection entitled Retrieved Attachments in February and Your Own Sensitivity: Selected Poems of Noriko Ibaragi, translated from the Japanese in collaboration with Andrew Houwen, in October. A research seminar will explore aspects of his recently deposited archive in July, while Return to Sendai: New and Selected Poems will appear from MadHat Press in the United States later that year.]



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