Move to a boathouse by a river -the walls must be yellow, the windowsills blue.Sleep downstairs with your head upstream,wait for a dream of swimming.
When it rains all night and you lie awakecollecting the music of a leakand reading The Observer’s Book of Wateruntil you’ve learned that chapter
on whirlpools and waterspouts by heart,listen to her whisper and giggleas she scribbles her slippery nameover and over down the glass.
Have a bucketful of oysters in the sinkin case she’s feeling peckishand a case of Rainwater sherrychilling in a cave behind the waterfall.
At the bottom of the wellthere’s one white pebble -put it beneath your tongue until it dissolves into a kiss.
Become so dry she will slipinto the shape of your thirst.Prepare to be a shiver on her surface.Taste her arrival on the wind.
by Charles Bennett
from How to Make a Woman Out of Water (2007)
The title poem of Charles Bennett's new collection, his first since the highly-acclaimed Wintergreen,
is full of sensual magic and supple music. It is charged with power and
grace, yet lightened by a wry sense of humour. It is lithe and strongly
flowing as water itself, and gives a pure pulse of clarity and drive
that runs like an undercurrent through the whole collection. Beguilingly
simple and approachable, these poems speak with the fluid voice of
water. Vivid explorations of water's depth, linked to the dark release
of deep sleep, culminate in the collection's central sequence: when one
of a pair of lovers falls asleep on a beach, the other muses on the
seascape, on lives that flourish on the littoral, and the nature of love
Charles Bennett was born in 1954 and was a mature student in the
1980s at London University and the University of Massachusetts, where he
was mentored by Joseph Brodsky and Amy Clampitt. He later wrote his
doctorate on Seamus Heaney. He has been virtual poet-in-residence for
the National Library of the Blind and until recently director of the
Ledbury Poetry Festival. He won the North West Poetry Pamphlet
competition for The Mermaid Room and his first collection Wintergreen was published by Headland in 2002.
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