Issue 18: Ian Patterson
(Tom Raworth Memorial)


                    i.m Tom Raworth

It is always the next island, this

so often useful even more ideas

becoming larger out of a small

part of something we do not own

Selves come like thought’s work

like a chair or a reward for doing

other people’s muddle as a chariot

for seeing the world for the time

The best memory suddenly speaking

as news or wonder down the same

telephone of human error

the same call he had had about it all

Thought blind as politicians viewed

our heads lost as sand & later it was

astonishing success made all over

his face music switched on his hands

Typing to mention an element of real

ordinary air in that way his mind in Peru

or wherever he liked to see a twist or

a change though it was true the sky was over

First thing keen as mustard we nodded

at what happened till it was over and muttered

at the phrase measuring the air a vast

idea not least being someone else

Just that not to mention things as

they sound to cook up his own light

as a man who liked the world in his flat

even the whole show to follow all this is

A void before I remember a way

into sense to veer around things said

with surprise and find other views

in various swirls and apathy perked up

They hadn’t quite been able to explain

ribbons of pink silk shot with the West

at a very low level having made the atom

bomb the little birds will sing and sing

You can’t know harm with your mind

cut off from one rubbery pair I ask

what doesn’t matter often enough

like a rabbit out of a passage of Proust

Anyway on the worst he liked at once

even if the same name would be

last to be coldly elegant depending

on price like a sudden urge to sleep

But his voice had become the point

you soon saw that or couldn’t tell

even good mouths got lost and might

be living in the century I forgot

It was an unfamiliar world with a door

to write for further study of the mind

unable to be in a daze of trying his name

about to move through it not back

He found it hard not to deal with more

new risks writing my eyes open before

a way of life in our time added to a vanished

world and to the trouble with reading alone

And misty clouds for the end of this

rain on the ground and in the air

my eyes the same now the same desire

of some invisible world still at large.

Ian Patterson's latest collection, Bound To Be, will be published by Equipage this summer. His poem 'The Plenty of Nothing' has been shortlisted for the Forward Poetry Prize (Best Single Poem) 2017. He is a Fellow of Queens' College, Cambridge, where he teaches English.