Frequenting a corner of an eye,Like a thing one didn’t really see,Its dodges reconcile meTo the way you get undressed,Affording less than a glimpse!
As for the one apparentTo our friend, elicitingHer outburst as it dartedClose to the surface,I guessed that stain on a backdrop
Of river and trees, that flightI very nearly caught (but whereWas one supposed to look?)Was lost for good. And then,There went the streak of it
– Sooner gone than seen.Was it, was it – what?Sapphire? Emblem of allSnatches: sought like the dreamOne forgets even as one wakes from it.
by Anthony Howell
© Anthony Howell, 2009
Anthony Howell has been described as a “dandy” (in a
review by Peter Porter) and the elegance of his poetry certainly
justifies that. Perhaps it’s that quality which has led him to be
compared with the American poet John Ashbery, a poet whose influence is
more to be seen in his earlier work. In fact Howell employs a variety of
methods, formal and other, in this highly enjoyable collection, which
features two longer poems: one a detailed narrative description of the
joys, or rather lack of them, in commuting across London; the other, the
book’s title poem, a fable about lust which the poet describes, perhaps
teasingly, as “extending a theme of dubious empathy explored by
Browning in “My Last Duchess”.’
'The Kingfisher' comes from The Ogre’s Wife, published by Anvil Press in 2009. You can find out more about Howell's collections here.
Anvil Press Poetry was founded in 1968 and publishes
English-language poetry and poetry in translation, both classic and
modern. You can read more about Anvil here.
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