Peterloo Poets published three volumes of Brian Waltham’s poems: Music for Brass, 1990, Masterclass, 1994, and The Soldier on the Pier, 2002. A further collection of unpublished poems, The Hang Of It, was brought out in 2011 by Line Press, edited by Caroline Cooper, with the help of John Mole and Will Wain. If you would like to enquire about purchasing The Hang Of It, or any other of Brian’s titles please contact us here [link shortly].
The poems below are all from The Hang Of It, 2011.
One moment Mr Becker.
Will the dark-haired girl
In the white blouse and red scarf,
Apparently on her own, second row in
The north stand, four from the end,
Please go urgently to Flat 3A,
Fourteenth floor, Jubilee Tower,
East Bexley, where a viewer who
Has seen her only for a moment
Knows that he would never
Get tired of her face.
Thank you Mr Becker.
Ah but there are days that come
Fresh from under stars so close and
Clear that you want to stoop;
Days that hug enough of dew
Never to be knowing and old,
That keep the tang of wet in roots
And wisdom gets no further than
A droplet in a nettle, teaching
The sun about colour.
Then, as morning stays early, there
Can be the very near, catching the
Run of an ant on a wall, or this
Intimate breath of moss or that
Spider tying a can to a tap.
Then, as the roof-tiles prink out
Their wiry lichen, the clouds
Argue about shape and how many
Shadows to let race across the
Then, still new, it is old as grass,
Old as the first rain, old as the
First creatures, new as wonder.
For all the talk of magic
And once-only music,
I reached your shore
With stuff not fit to land.
The truth is not storms or greatness,
But a hull that would always
Finish in the sand.
Not Odysseus, but a
Bankrupt from rotting quays,
Sewage-silt, sargasso weed,
Come to find your rock and
Yarn about the murderous seas.