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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Felicity Afire

An Australian poet I was most happy to rediscover down under last year is Robert Adamson, whose new Bloodaxe collection The Kingfisher’s Soul I review (in brief) in today’s TLS. But as they’ve snipped the last sentence off I’d like to log it here: ‘Like Amy Clampitt’s kingfisher, these poems are flushed with “the color /of felicity afire.”’ And since I can hardly leave it at that, here’s the end of his poem ‘Creon’s Dream’ by way of illustration.

I sleep in broken snatches and dream nothing.
Mosquitoes suck at my cheeks and empty bottles
clutter the verandah, the books are in darkness

but the sandy whimbrels finger the pages, words
dissolve, waves of the dead arrive in dreams.
Out there the black finger points to the mouth

of the river, where the dead are heading, they
move over the window glass. The extinct fins move
the fingers of my grandfather, mending nets,

the dead friends sing from invisible books. The heron
picks the blood-shot eye from my father’s terrible
work in the kilns and darkness is complete.

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