Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Tell him not to look so intense

Tell him not to look so intense.
The house shakes and that word
is meaningless, anyhow.

I was like that once, only
looking at a map of river deltas,
sunken green land between tawny ridges,
it seemed as if the inevitable rising tides
might stretch as far north as Minnesota.

Or that I would have to kill my father.

It never came to either.

At the sea’s edge,
where Freud caught eels,
and sharpened his scalpel,
a thousand pebbles dried.

We think we know the world too well,
inventing convenient melodramas,
exit strategies, complications
to be met with knitted brows.

Svalbard: perhaps I’ll go there.

Tom Phillips

Sunday, 6 March 2011

After Asculum

"And I, Pyrrhus," he said
"might well stand
above such blazing campfires
coding victory."

These losses, in each individual case,
mean no more or less,
viewed from this angle,
than the dead and the redundant.

Arithmetic exists at the sword’s edge.
Years pass in their thousands.
Here’s one – a mosaic
on the museum floor:
the writer on his knees
before the emperor.