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IRON LETTERS

I

Utter received
& savage verse
streaming in
once written
told as much
as ever breathed
I was in the sea
but will be too
much more than life
the greatest anxiety
quite in itself
in letters
nor desire no
phrases nearer
than it show any
balance in
your hands
writing neglect
the flames I have
no claims to be
prose not yet finished
as you meditate
sheets of a life
and afterwards
tell my remaining rags

II

Suspect of the senses
you wish to make up
felicity and a song
to lose the bond

silly blind and then
can’t glimpse fire
by an overturn
say nothing say put

from suspense
between the lines what
naturally wishes human
being so quietly

for some stage
so stays by that
time so no time
was lost in the age

abide by his pains
like the milky way
vicinity and access
green fruit in autumn

 

III

Slacking paces the way
scribbling caused
opening a drawer

look towards the sofa
better to forget
whoever's work that was

reflections come too
but never the outcome
gives me any pleasure

merely personal
write to them and assure
my books not my power

to promise at four o’clock
answer to remember
what to say nothing about

people in a garden
tell me they do here
they have and keep furnished

 

IV

He is abated as
calamities with rose
a long time
know how order
let out of your hands
to any concerns
trust in it seems just
in July ears
my name will be
in disorder to raise
the father and severe
in a rainy morning
sticks waiting
for us immortal
inside and out
owing to the heat so
disagreeable as I choose
my serious advertisement
or some town on your coast
transmuted subject
but to tell you this
the worse it seems
believe me

 

V

I say what he means
but wish to refuse both
the issue of it
to the usual possession
and, to change the subject,
are you in England?
menacing this cold slab
of visit to any part or parts
insisted and detained
my improper valise
I have suspected certain
outward signs do not
suit me in such a state
torn and missing, degraded
or weak from ways of thought
for whom I have given up
my own scenes without my
saying any more
even in appearances
with a chair or table and
the blindness of beginning

 

VI

Was it kept by your translation
till you can clear the house
to plague you with the burden
of the theatre of knots?

I will come to any place
one way or another:
in the eyes of the free world
he wished to have an end in view

do you want me to find
probable good cause?
I shall require politics to think
but first, a word while

letters came to correct me
in this country still more
public and astray to share
against the field of the knife

for they are not popular
released "to confess"
and creep by last post
variations on mask in the flesh

from a print of a word
all mixed over overturns
say it soon, warn me quietly
and I will go on like printing

 

VII

No harm done to know you
waxed spelling like “laugh”
alone and act from any tight
rounds on the death of my fee
at burning matters and bones
of foggy morning with violets
two or three very gladly sent you
and many trials and conclusions
which perhaps you know better
as a certain solace in small writing
more quietly swept down
with part of mankind
with funds down under my days
about to begin with youth, beauty
and the paper diamonds reproached
like war, my friendship arrested
and deceived for the liberties in my land!
Does this deserve the name who not
only is torn and the rest
in such a moment I have lived
for you with the thought of this hardly
pleasant nor eloquent unalterable portal?

 

VIII

Your bureau and doors to perpetual
suspicion and the house clear and
so very like your writing a tragedy
in black and white and some
shuffles as I am now his dancing
beat. They love us. It wears nothing
not because he keeps the difference
sold from a letter, continuing earth
not to sell out with my terms, nor my
people of suspense. You never name her
or scrape to go on in a solitary forest
to prove all sides in a green bag
no matter flit out of it but recollect
we wait while seeing it was written
in impartial decree which can only restore
melancholy testimony to an unknown person

 

CODA

Mind to read between
what I have written to the Wind
in fragments of proper hours
in every sense what it wants
has been hit on the style
but no fine phrases for you to read

 

[Ian Patterson's Time to Get Here: Selected Poems 1969-2002 was published by Salt in 2003. The long poem The Glass Bell was published this year by Barque Press. He is also the author of Guernica and Total War (Profile Books, 2007)]

Copyright © 2009 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.