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A collection of Brian Waltham's previously unpublished poems, The Hang of It, was brought out in 2011 by Line Press, edited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. The poems on this page are all taken from that collection.

*Newly added : Film of Brian reading two of his poems at the Fitzroy Tavern, London in 1990

and a longer version including readings by Denis Paul and Cyril Laming.

Wimbledon and

Forty love........

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,

Forty love........

Early

 

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 lychen, the clouds

Argue about shape and how many

Shadows to let race across the

Hillside maize.

Then, still new, it is old as grass,

Old as the first rain, old as the

First creatures, new as wonder.

 

Optics

The fly on my window

Knows about God

But not about glass.

God sits in a bowl of light

And must be reached,

But as Einstein found,

On the rim of reality

All paths go round.

Urgent and crass, the fly

Seeks a hole in the universe.

He knows about God

But not about glass.

Rock

 

For Caroline

 

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.