Another poem from Alasdair Paterson’s Brumaire and Later – see ‘Watercress’ and ‘Goose’ below for the context. Paterson’s writing in this pamphlet – for all the anguish of its subject, and often ripe-to-rotten richness of its imagery – has such clarity, like cool mountain water held in a wooden tub.

//

The first of the month,
the day named Apple,
pigs were fattening
as usual on the windfalls,
the sauce was thickening nicely,
when fog came down like white mourning,
like a mountebank’s trick hankie.

Then it was a morning
to spin you around;
so by the time you looked again
how strange and sharp
the landscape’s edges had turned,
how many stumbled into them.

But for others it was sweet,
sweeter than orchards to bite
into our time, our element at last.
To hear like a new-delivered pulse
the calendar’s muffled drum.
To walk sure-footed in the dim russet.
To unwrap the weapons.

//

[Read in Brumaire and Later, published by Flarestack Poets.]

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Another poem from Alasdair Paterson’s Brumaire and Later – see ‘Goose’ below for the context.

//

Out on their feet, the new recruits,
but they don’t want to sleep.
They’ll make a night of it, cajole
each other near that hideous border
they’ll some time need to cross alone.

The wine helps, maybe not the colour;
bitter salad’s plated up and meat
they sent for cooling in its juices.
They’ll have each other taste it all, roar
slogans and poor songs till lights out.

The border crossing into sleep tonight,
when they get there, will be a bridge
over a meander fat with bodies
that go bumping under, fifty, fifty one,
and so towards the watercress beds.

[Read in Brumaire and Later, published by Flarestack Poets.]