Sunday 3 November 2019

A poem by Rory Waterman

I first met Rory Waterman in 2011 when we both read at a Days of Roses event in London (organised by Declan Ryan). If his reading that evening is anything to go by, then we're in for a treat at the Rogue Strands event on 28th November (see Facebook for more details), where he'll be one of our featured poets. Suffice to say, I was delighted when he accepted our invite!

Waterman stands out among the poets of his generation in the U.K. not only for his awareness of form and his technical control but for how lightly he wears them. His use of language is so natural that the reader is carried along by the cadences of his lines without any need for extraneous resource or recourse. 

His poem today, first published in the Times Literary Supplement, provides us with a terrific example of Rory Waterman's art:

Where to Build

I never thought I’d have a home
but then I’d built one up from the bay,
a shrub-scrubbed cleft half-hiding it,
a plunging stream behind the grate

and locals pointed up, or down,
to where I lived beside myself
for years, with all I’d wanted most,
building a greenhouse, annexe, shelves,

and made it all I knew to want
and drowned the voice that said I don’t
with all I’d always done for this
and grew tomatoes, seed to light

and ate them, happily, every night,
and fixed the leak that drew the rain
and fixed it when it sprung again.
Well, I knew of rock across the bay –

a skerry? – green-topped, curving round
to out of sight behind near rock.
But rain set in, the endless rain,
and through the sheet of endless cloud

a jet of sudden light cracked down
across that further hunk of land,
which glimmered ginger. And it stayed
for seconds, minutes, hours, days,

the whole life of my house away.

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