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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