Overdrawn Account

HOW HE CHANGES

When he comes round to recounting the story,
as if anyone else remembered it,
acquaintances spoken of
move dumbly.
An ivory grey
blankness in their atmosphere
has choked them.
A hardening of the landscape's contour,
he's disinclined
to have its grass cover
evoke them.

No longer reminded
of surnames, entanglements, jokes,
he sees the road's curve,
grass verges, old road-house
anew.
That life's history, remorse,
all forgotten;
the route he takes
takes them
right out of view.

He'd come round to recounting the story
and found in his recall
no trace of former entrapments.
He turns the first corner.
What he sees
- grass, leaves, roofs, chimneys -
are only themselves
and the sky like a blank drawing board
stands out, indifferently blue.

First part drafted in the Outpatients Department of the National Hospital for Nervous Diseases, Queen Square, by trying to translated from memory 'Comme on change' by Pierre Reverdy, in July or August 1975; second part written in Angel Court, Trinity College, in autumn 1975. Published in Blueprint no. 2, 1976 and, with minor changes, in Overdrawn Account (Many Press: London, 1980). Reprinted as part one only in Liverpool Accents: Seven Poets and a City ed. P. Robinson (Liverpool University Press: Liverpool, 1996). This one-part form included in Selected Poems.

Published in Blueprint no. 2, 1976.
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