True Rendition

If I were to forget the rest in a breakdown of law
I’d choose obscurity despite my skin showing up
when it occurs. I’d lie on a table or a drawer
waiting to be slid away and give others the chance
to stumble belatedly or to stay for a long time
with no need at their core after all the drives
               towards this trope of true rendition

Later to pass darkly or enter the head by
distance from the line of the feeding mind—
as a meditation rose it is right to add infinity
for a thousand pounds of portable property
a sort of land reduced to the eye in a fine
melancholy lot of mangled limbs and dying with
               foods like sugar to lament and snipe at

Nothing sacred about doing this only in
connection in that form so slight in itself
less than one, it can be no question of
what one knows—in that it has to be given up
as a thing certain of itself as regards contentment
but clumsy with scorn and full of the simple world
               fallen free from the contrary side

For all to see a disposable system I had thought of
at the sharpest time to find schism-failure, doughy
names and baby shelters all immaterial after all—
it faces the past starting up again inside people, imitable
by none too close to the same ground white and hot
tips too many spills I mean to let it be white or not
               as it seeps in to my other ears

A phone cries —Innocents, shall we look
more drawn or flat to protect me here or shall we just
mean much faster? Can we? Any time over all this
gone to utter rest for a turn about turn over
and dial it out over a dull red mix. Please no
respecter of portions, grafted or bummed a quid here
               to sustain repeat blooms

Now see an old yellow cloud hovering around
the throat of art to stop around the handle
and listen to rude sounds like porn milk and jasmine,
a frame never boiled up to a kitchen idea. Nothing
really happened, after all. No pin, no gin. Poetry regained
confidence in the brassy and infinite like finches
               round a feeder squabbling




Free Amble

Dry light to boost grave legal taste of the writing, why one point be
   fucked, embodied in an idea like hand, meaning its mark system

Claim free claim protected, why one should keep the idea to pot
   before one rotten break too fast and get just as far on real charm

Cut away life in cruel age order fluently, a common thing
   held far back it comes in branch maxims, a most articulate nutshell

Marry and get them slow hawthorn and pots of cold grass
   covered with out of work grit no plug on her plastered teeth

To lose the last nail, soon belting out to the waste pale and felt
   wild and soapy a second blot far from light, his empty eyes grin

Wet to a pit rigged down at his horn master, the dead bloom
   about the child to catch a house through the wood turns down

You should know a ram on the line and on his father’s arm grating
   says she needs a little farce with tongs, her plot delivered from years

Eleven now non other boote to catch fog in a mirror or piano bubbles
   a wet knot and shit rather than face flies in the face cut and past him

And what else wipes spirit so dull that malady would strike and roar and fire
   and vanish in dark air, a sharp nest killed and dressed to so forsake my home?





A Bit Part

Deceptive struggles take the leaves
            to wipe a story on a body whiter than
the forest air about her even in her cage
            his failure like cold tea and cotton wool

to flinch from the bed in darkness
            come up still without part now for the night
liquid as well as clutching light can take it
            for the price at the back he might have said

feel unlit dry stones about them by the wire
            so it seemed to be part of a clock so by the sea
got up back in a wet spring for the regret
            by the wood between the snow shifting

so falls a more sibilant one on the phone, falls
            from the house to strip a tap behind my eyes
who had no feeling of hanging down again
            simply on a beginning of the end at this fury

split himself and others within himself
            straight to touch hopes and actual purposes
fed by labour: if you met him he might have been
            the self to come like Faust in these sleeves

mad about sheep and wind on the land only he
            can say more with mud and gravel for the idea
of simple words of himself hard on a fountain
            drains his memory for the rest, the part he is





Northern Line

Never prickly air in the world was a late cry
shining to silence different ways you like
much before it was only matters, you know

Well, this was how what had got a little line
when pausing was her manner on fire, he saw her
cosmic and misread, imposed on more waste dread

Too often hearing of a puff of good reason opening
a balance after he had no heed in a blur or two
hitched to the unforeseen rain through to the ashes.

Never lie even at very abstract letters, type a quick
look and go south admiring his nib with a rustle out of
the loop with a view, say, down the Euston Road

Lines from a garden had the air of a leaf edge
rested round a pink wash pegged for ages in sight
as if I was a live grassy recipe like a new skin

I didn’t say anything, brooding chords in mid air
quivering into a state of mind that declined all day
while the dark unsaid was too small and slipped to the floor.

In so much care for all the time to expect each round
word let’s set up a pity of the shell, gone far to be found
after dark in the blink of a birdless turning life vision.





By the Banks of Grim Margin

As I walked out on a glimmer of linnet chat
another branch of the unjust mingled with silence
at the front again don’t trust a writer in shades
of blue the last moments of a level blue glacier
by transit with them distant from himself with them
between himself as on that very first day. We used
to have a house he said that skimmed the surface of men
to condemn the last set piece in blue pencil. If words
that cut like steam were all spirit all in play why
arm the flesh, why lick the skirt in your hand in a
corner cut to pieces? Only so as to lie still again
as an old log dead and found fit to work some dream
suspended over script like payment for time saved
by the banks of grim margin. It must be the last day.






On a street on a wall with him and without him
or are we part of that word wandering? His feet
knowing had been through one place to another
for no one knew in that going only just the street
to look away fallen to the city, our need close by.

Keys of language, the liberties I heard would help
her because a world will never remit the one door
that level open rest over so far and so many weeks
of raw majority no bare earth or grub for food or
water by word or gesture not what she has left.

Destined to become is a negative worn down by
blood as we say as we were due to come home
we could no longer no longer remain on the earth
when we left them for dead in limpid water and
all it is said to offer and disintegrate and nail us.

It was not kind, a poisonous leak of hope as a
direct hit on need and fault and what can’t help
who or what in knots of wire like faces and faces
like wire full of distance complete and near grief
to explode over again no chance to bind the cut.

To trim up for refuge brimmed grief so to hand
and always to fall back to harm of the living, as
we were born and are deep in us in the world as
a flight from what it is to what it is and find no
respite set in motion but fear of dying out of it.

                                                 (6 October 2016)



[Ian Patterson still teaches English at Queens' College, Cambridge, where he is now also Garden Steward. His most recent books are Time Dust (Equipage, 2015) and Still Life (Oystercatcher, 2015).]

Copyright © 2016 by Ian Patterson, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.