Errory

By Tom Raworth b. 1938 Tom Raworth
joined harmonising the best
so it needn’t wait
phrase: the question are you sure?
hanging three feet off the ground
silent, absolutely quiet
headquarters – we travelled north
clawing back small shelter
hung with screaming
on the same rig
blended in enthusiasm
as the race approached
through cracks in snow
free-falling into mind
alive with brightness shivering
instantly into sleep
changed, re-formed
they run, they run
with madness into chutes
of changed values
all of them conventional
vibrations of division
dare to refuse the glass
lazily through long green
discrete landing sites
to a transmitting unit
over the protective line
wave patterns in space
form black against
sifted patches of moonlight
birds move in the dark
their faint contours
singing small notes
to the rhythm of a train
so empty at this hour
silence in between
contains the words
things whiz past
once more
the sound of calculation
by indirect means
receives its full due
along the wet pavement
human flesh
fallen in all directions
to fresh eyes
something to do with the sky
senselessly dishevelled
resolves and fixes
the foundation
desirable to guard against
relative soundness of approach
including human shapes
used by the dealer
connecting them
to a sense of common
unforeseeable properties of relics
considered in place
so deceptive
their firesides play
optimism for its object
without arousing
constitutional tradition
beyond the rules of the game
hailstones imagine
moist sea air
disordered beyond it rise
drearier philosophies
to resist retrogression
faster than anything
directly stimulating receptors
attention moves
many possible representations
inside the heart
decayed into blackness
fine details of the scene
creep along for years
hard to become
immune to a predator
silhouettes of participants
dangle in their own data
faint green clouds
in almost pure alcohol
calibrate the equipment
to assume a more personal form
susceptible to psychic influences
does not contempt breed
often in disguise?
slipping past a window
on communal stairs
into faded yellow
flashed with orange
slanting through smoke
swished into a perfect dome
dissatisfied when calm returns
centered around a food animal
mastery of areas
managed to neutralise
subjects into waves
to destroy communication
more easily on scanty pasture 

Tom Raworth, “Errory” 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 Arts & Sciences, Language & Linguistics, Social Commentaries

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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 Arts & Sciences, Language & Linguistics, Social Commentaries

POET’S REGION England

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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