Gaslight

By Tom Raworth b. 1938 Tom Raworth
a line of faces borders the strangler’s work
heavy european women
mist blows over dusty tropical plants
lit from beneath the leaves by a spotlight
mist in my mind a riffled deck
 
of cards or eccentrics
was i
a waterton animal my head
is not my own
 
poetry is neither swan nor owl
but worker, miner
digging each generation deeper
through the shit of its eaters
to the root – then up to the giant tomato
 
someone else’s song is always behind us
as we wake from a dream trying to remember
step onto a thumbtack
 
two worlds – we write the skin
the surface tension that holds
                                       you
                                       in
what we write is ever the past
 
curtain pulled back
a portrait behind it
is a room suddenly lit
 
looking out through the eyes
at a t.v. programme
of a monk sealed into a coffin
 
we close their eyes and ours
and still here the tune
 
moves on
 
 
 


Tom Raworth, "Gaslight" from Collected Poems. Copyright © 2003 by Tom Raworth.  Reprinted by permission of Carcanet Press, Ltd.

Source: Collected Poems (Carcanet Press, 2003)

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Poet Tom Raworth b. 1938

POET’S REGION England

Subjects Living, The Mind, Mythology & Folklore, Horror

Biography

Writer, artist, teacher, and publisher Tom Raworth was born in South London. He attended the University of Essex; in 1970, he earned an MA in the theory and practice of literary translation. As founder of Matrix Press and cofounder of Goliard Press, Raworth was instrumental in bringing an entire tradition of American poetry to English readers. Promoting the work of a number of poets associated with the Black Mountain School, . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, The Mind, Mythology & Folklore, Horror

POET’S REGION England

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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