Selected Poems


How like the forearm of that laundress
pressing her iron in a picture by Degas
comes your arm as you help dough through
a pasta machine, how like you
to be making things happen as if chance
mixtures of ingredients this once
were a recipe for happiness
kneaded, rolled with a pin and, yes,
how like you, how like the flame-flowered apron
set off by white blouse folds to be just one
of the details held for their own sake -
like that spray of arranged daisy petals or like
the plain wood board with dusting of flour,
or your torso leant forward lending more power
to bare elbows, more force to your forearms -
and these not random items
composing the moment's promise -
yes, how like you this
open window's lifting pines
with the stuck groove of a stray cat's whines
how like a child's half-consoled crying,
its echo taken up in blue fathomless sky...

Written 4 June 2001 in Yagiyama, Sendai.

Published in New Grains no. 5, January 2002.
Included in :
  • A Choice of British Poetry (Tokyo: Seitousha, 2003)
  • Selected Poems 1976-2001 (Manchester: Carcanet Press, 2003)
  • Ghost Characters (Nottingham: Shoestring Press, 2006)