Open 11am to 8pm
Royal Festival Hall (Level 5), Southbank Centre, LondonOpen Tuesday - Sunday from 11am to 8pm
Wren. Full song. No subsong. Call of alarm, spreketh & ought
damage the eyes with its form, small body, tail pricked up & beak
like a hair
trailed through briars & at a distance scored with lime scent in the
like scrapings from a goldsmith’s cuttle, rock alum & fair butter well-
which script goes is unrecognised by this one, is pulled by the ear
in anger the line at fault is under and inwardly drear as a bridge in
reared up inotherwise to seal the eyes through darkness, the bridge
it does not speak, the starlings speak that steal the speech of men,
a spark that meets the idea of itself, apparently fearless.
Ah cruelty. And I had not stopped to think upon it
& I had not extended it into the world for love for naught.
Whatever you’ve come here to get
You’ve come to the wrong place. It
(I mean your name) hurries away
Before you in the trees to escape.
I am against you looking in
At what you think is me speaking.
Yet we know I am not against
You looking at me and hearing.
If I had met you earlier walking
With the poetry light better
We might we could have spoken and said
Our names to each other. Under
Neath the boughs of the last black
Bird fluttered frightened in the shade
I think you might be listening. I
Listen in this listening wood.
To tell you the truth I hear almost
Only the sounds I have made myself.
Up over the wood’s roof I imagine
The long sigh of Outside goes.
I leave them there for a moment knowing
I make them act you and me.
Under the poem’s branches two people
Walk and even the words are shy.
It is only an ordinary wood.
It is the wood out of my window.
Look, the words are going away
Into it now like a black hole.
Five fields away Madron Wood
Is holding words and putting them.
I can hear them there. They move
As a darkness of my family.
The terrible, lightest wind in the world
Blows from word to word, from ear
To ear, from name to name, from secret
Name to secret name. You maybe
Did not know you had another
Sound and sign signifying you.
Two soft packets of Marlboro on the sideboard
and she knew he’d arrived.
She lit one, moved to the table
and saw SURPRISE written in spilt sugar.
She couldn’t help thinking of flies.
He was in bed for certain, waiting for her
to join him in pseudo-sleep.
Thinking of his mouth, she almost went upstairs,
but telephoned her sister
and arranged to meet in a Tapas bar.
She added D and a question mark
to his greeting on the table,
picked up his cigarettes
and left the front door open.
The instructions in bold letters state:
Serves 6. I consider the powder mix and milk
cycling in the saucepan, like Megan’s representational
designs of lemon trees. She is six years old
and reconciled to wait up for dessert.
I’m not really sure which direction to stir
with the whisk, and she’s not exactly my niece.
Megan gives me lessons on her mother:
the stovetop is starry night, the plastic cup
is gas station, the woman waiting tables is America.
We discuss the basis of courage: it’s all
in the chocolate pudding, she says. In rare letters,
her mother once wrote it’s the only thing
Megan manages to keep down when she’s ill.
Later, I read the wanted ads aloud because
that’s what her mother recited nightly to help her sleep.