Showing posts with label Michael Ivens. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Michael Ivens. Show all posts

Monday, September 5, 2011

Variations On A Theme

One of the joys of poetry is encountering a new poem that calls up a poem you had nearly forgotten.  The unanticipated connection multiples your pleasure:  not only have you gained the new poem, but you have also gained the implications that arise out of the echoes of the old poem.

I recently found this poem by Hugo Williams:

                  The Accident

The cricket ball lingered an eternity
in the patch of blue sky
before returning eventually to earth.

I was standing with outstretched arms
when the full force of the future
hit me in the mouth.

Hugo Williams, Dock Leaves (1994).

"The Accident" brought to mind one of the small gems discovered by Philip Larkin and included by him in The Oxford Book of Twentieth-Century English Verse (1973).  I know little about Michael Ivens (1924-2001), the writer of the following poem.  However, I did come across a harrumphing obituary in The Guardian, which is harrumphingly titled:  "Michael Ivens: Champion of the Libertarian Right and Business Freedom."  The Guardian is reliably hilarious in its harrumphing, and the obituary, contrary to The Guardian's hopes, prompted me to think to myself:  "I like the cut of this man's jib.  He seems to have been remarkably thoughtful, clear-headed, and free of cant.  No wonder The Guardian seems to have taken a dislike to him."

But, back to poetry: 

     First Day at School

First day at school
the large boy
kindly
hurled my ball
with amazing skill
high over the roof

soaring out of sight
out of my prosaic life

Unstintingly
I gave him
my admiration

As others have done
when their respect
money
virginity
honour hope and lives
have been hurled
triumphantly out of sight

Michael Ivens, Private and Public (1968).

                               Thomas Saunders Nash, "Still Life" (1929)