Sunday, 17 May 2009

Sunday night is.. Ben Webster, Chelsea Bridge (1964)

As John Mole's interlocutor said in a poem called 'Listening' about Webster, back in 1984, "even the breath swings".

I register with pleasure the third title in a row and feel cheery enough to congratulate friends at Stoke on a brilliant season for them in which I thought they were sure to go down. One up for the spirit then. So maybe Pulis is OK? As for Rafa, known affectionately in United circles as the FSW (Fat Spanish Waiter): You've got a good team there and it is possible to avoid sounding like a fool. Give it a go.


But then Liverpool is where I travel very early tomorrow for Michael's funeral. I have written an obituary, now I need to persuade one of the papers to take it. But first it should pass muster. In the meantime another poem by Michael.


A hedge at Easter, hawthorn
blossom the colour of sunlight
on snow. A garvel track that cuts
helter-skelter through the knot-
grass above Old MacDonald's
farm. That lay-bay under Sugar
Loaf, rain breaking over tarmac,
fingering harmonics from the roof.

How and when love brings us to
our senses, leaving us breathless,
inclined to prayer or broken speech,
like a salmon arching upstream, the
tongue unlocks its back and
leaps, entering another element

A slightly breathless sonnet-structured poem moving from memory to something beyond prayer and broken speech, those two combined, complex, almost surreal images of broken speech: the salmon arching and the tongue unlocking its back, leaping, like a salmon, and the distance between air and water.

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