Monday, 30 May 2011

Three more music poems

Yes, I've no excuse for blogging these, except that I've been at work all this bank holiday.

The first dates from 2004, and was published in the 2007 Ver Prize anthology from Ver Poets of St Albans.


TWO SETTINGS OF A.E. HOUSMAN

Vaughan Williams. An upland slope
as steep as team can plough,
a cloud of gulls, a hillside's
sliding shadow.

Butterworth. The sport along
the river-shore, the flow;
and slow chords match the silence
of old film, now.

The second is one of the earliest poems of mine to be be still getting much of an outing, having been first published in the Durham student magazine Palatinate in May 1977.


MAGNIFICAT IN B MINOR BY THOMAS TERTIUS NOBLE (1867-1953)


Banks of black cloud climbed up the sky;
the cathedral became Noah's Ark:
the striking afternoon sun held her straight
against the boomy dark.

But, down in the body ecclesiastic,
something was rotten and soft:
there were intrigues in the vestry that year,
and A CORPSE IN THE ORGAN-LOFT.



Finally, a sonnet -- one of several I wrote for Radio 3's sonnet competition in the autumn of 2001, though I was allowed to enter only one, and this was not it. It was published in Perimeter 11, 2003.

It's not evocatively musical, as the other two poems in the blog try to be. It namechecks Britten. The Radio 3 indiscretion mentioned in ll. 4-8 was triggered by Britten's Gemini variations. Social mores and Radio 3's presentation style have both changed since 1989; the word awesome has changed its meaning since 2001. But I think it's still the case that a loved one's privacy is not yours to dispense with.


OUT


Wilfred Pickles bade Britain Goodneet. The red
light closed. Out at Moorside Edge, sporting no light,
the mast faithfully relayed the way he said
the word. The shock, under the wartime night.

Buoyed up by Britten, one presenter on
Radio Three announced another as
not his twin but his companion,
in '89. The red light stopped. There was

an awesome silence. Out, brief candle; out,
damned spot; an outing and a half! Judas went
out; and it was night. Light out, from twent-
y years of seance failed. Lamps going out

all over Europe. More than going out.
Out, fallen out, down and out; a rout, a rout.

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