from ‘Promenade: Deck 1’

for one omenon
according morning
clear speculation aspect

betrays concrete
oscillates indivisible incidence
mixes more different

an overture at the end
the face of immediate weather
lowering rain

the early during
frothy guarantee
meteorological as rest

declared process
sunset is quite a different matter
offered spectacle battles

tangible form
succeeded at lower dawn
twilight information setting

thermometer case
phases tides less civilised
combines buffeted consciousness

fluffy theatres glow
triple knocking performance
remembering blinks

relive fatigue
calm water alms
recalling opaque forces

dimly war
in thick concealed blur
rocking golden light

slight boat curve
to rock the matter of fact
purely geometrical transition

crossing isotherms
high rain-curves
the impression of a change

of planet
itinerary of unpractised eye
followed invisible lands

present beyond
vex horizon
it seemed to them shut

narrow days expiate
transported limbs
made too soft by sleeping

protracted mornings fill
slightest effort provided
depths engines

realised making the latter
wander about the body
some solitary dabs

ventilator blue
paint nautical miles
vaguely lapping corridors

proof the crystal sea
rusty detached West
hooked complex horizon moulding

towards immobilized clouds
carved confused spurts
guilded dark relief

dappled devoid
decomposing looking
into luminous twists

see rose structure
edged scattering border remnants
only the dissolving sea

variegated flagstones
dwindled cosmological
rested dolmens supporting mass

turned one’s back
ramparts glistening ethereal
superimposed sun

hillocky mauve gleams
sideways silvered lighting
cluttered celestial reefs

meanwhile opaque sectors
octopus the obstacle
as if a vaporous fist

grottoes light
along times pink mitten
find intensity withdrawn




some Deck notes

Sun  Set  Deck  Cogitation folds together two journeys undertaken by the anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss. In 1935, aged 26, he stood on the deck of the Mendoza, leaving Marseilles – and Europe for the first time - for the first leg of its journey to Brazil. He left with aspirations as a Conradian novelist, and within the journey, he made a forensically detailed notebook description of a sunset. He regarded it as so significant for his career that he reprinted it in its entirety in Tristes Tropiques. If Tristes's account of the original departure is a collage of different times, my series of ‘treated’ strolls around the notebook open out onto a different deck; a different moment of departure – Lévi-Strauss’s tenure on the Capitaine Paul-Lemerle, as one of many exiles from Marseilles in 1941. He joined other Vichy ‘undesirables’ André Breton, Russian novelist and dissident Victor Serge, painter Wifredo Lam, and Aimé and Suzanne Césaire: comrades in fleeing persecution. Rebecca Solnit posits the promenade as ‘a special subset of walking with an emphasis on slow stately movement, socializing, and display. It is not a way of getting anywhere, but a way of being somewhere, and its movements are essentially circular’. What better mode of locomotion for those strolling the decks of a rolling ship of exiles, restless with the need to be elsewhere.
        My first deck promenade (there are seven) was an enthused improvised scan through the surface ripples of the text, as Lévi-Strauss may have attended to the refracted rays of his sunset dispersed across the ocean he moved upon.

[Simon Perril is a poet and collagist. His poetry publications include The Slip (Shearsman, 2020), In the Final Year of my 40s (Shearsman, 2018), Beneath (Shearsman, 2015)  Archilochus on the Moon (Shearsman, 2013), Newton’s Splinter (Open House, 2012), Nitrate (Salt, 2010), A Clutch of Odes (Oystercatcher, 2009), and Hearing is Itself Suddenly a Kind of Singing (Salt, 2004).  As a critic he has written widely on contemporary poetry, editing The Salt Companion to John James, and Tending the Vortex: The Works of Brian Catling. He is Professor of Poetic Practice at De Montfort University, in Leicester. You can see Simon reading from Sun  Deck  Set  Cogitation with accompanying visuals as part of his talk/reading, ‘Synaptic Foliage’:]

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