Denise Riley's Say Something Back (Picador, 2016), first selection
I've been relishing this book and include some of my favourite passages here, with a second selection to follow in a few days.
Read from the hymnal of frank life--of how
to be old, yet never rehearse that fact cosily.
end of "Tree seen from bed"
I can manage being alone,
can pace out convivial hope
across my managing ground.
opening of "Under the answering sky" (a brilliant poem)
Dusk, crossroads, walker, flats, night.
That rapid wordless halt bewilders me.
Now evening will hold still for years.
from "The eclipse"
All hindsight shakes itself out vigorously like a wet dog.
last line of "Silent did depart"
Moving toward my silence
I'll speak evening thoughts
sparkling with reproach though
I had meant to forgive.
last stanza of "Krasnoye Selo"
Still looking for lost people--look unrelentingly.
The souls of the dead are the spirit of language:
you hear them alight inside that spoken thought.
beginning and end of "Listening for lost people"
Sweet-throated warbler, yelp.
Off trots the she-shepherd
with a basket for briar roses
or strawberries, should the
churned earth house them.
end of "After 'Nous n'irons plus au bois'"
who weren't rapt, only dozing in warm grass at noon, lulled
by music to dreaming their sonic enchantment is virtuously
militant, a sparkly art stance plus a strong civic end in itself?
from "And another thing"
It willed to be ordinary, easy
as rain sifting through woods
but doubt shrouded that mind
skewing its aim at mildness.
opening stanza of "Catastrophic thinking"