Poetry Centre

Weekly Poem for 16 September 2013

  • Redwings and Magnetism

    How small is the god of those migrating bird-rivers:
    redwings, fieldfares that fall from Norway to the Neva.

    She will climb from her bed and airbrush their science.
    The season is ice-mist, a scared short-range weather.

    Redwings, fieldfares that fall from Norway to the Neva
    smash as if thrown against the solid-state river.

    The season is ice-mist, a scared short-range weather.
    A small neck bows, the tiles of its wings

    smash as if thrown against the solid-state river.
    She makes herself dark coffee, taps in the data.

    Her small neck bows; the tiles of those wings
    are unfolded and healed by the heat of her argument.

    She makes herself dark coffee, taps in the data.
    How those ten thousand birds fleer in her thought,

    unfolded and healed by the heat of her argument.
    Warm the cold lives by her limpid knowledge:

    those ten thousand birds that fleer in her thought.
    She has climbed from her bed, airbrushed their science,

    warmed the cold lives by a limpid knowledge:
    how small is the god of those migrating bird-rivers.

    by David Morley

    This week's poet, David Morley, will be speaking at John Clare in Space: Poetry, Nature and Contemporary Culture, a conference at Oxford Brookes from 30-31 May 2014. Other confirmed speakers include: Jonathan Bate, Josie Long, Richard Mabey, and Iain Sinclair. All are welcome to attend, and details about registration can be found on the Oxford Brookes website.

    'Redwings and Magnetism' is copyright © David Morley, 2001. It is reprinted from Of Science, edited by David Morley & Andy Brown (published by Worple Press in 2001) by permission of Worple Press.

    Notes from Worple Press:

    Of Science is a sample of poems by contemporary poets who are also trained as scientists. The writers of this selection are drawn from the fields of freshwater ecology, mathematics, marine biology, neural physiology, ethnology, computing, phenomenology and biochemistry. The mode of selection is modelled on the 1802 Lyrical Ballads, in the spirit of Miroslav Holub's notion of 'serious play', with the shared belief of Wordsworth and Coleridge that 'poetry is the breath and finer spirit of all knowledge; it is the impassioned expression which is the countenance of all science.' Read more about the book on Worple's site.

    David Morley read Zoology at Bristol University, gained a fellowship from the Freshwater Biological Association and pursued research on acid rain. He co-founded the Writing Programme at the University of Warwick, of which he is now director, and develops and teaches new practices in scientific and creative writing. He co-edited The New Poetry for Bloodaxe and authored The Cambridge Introduction to Creative Writing. He has published eleven collections of poetry. The Invisible Kings (Carcanet, 2008) was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, as was his most recent book, The Gypsy and the Poet (Carcanet, 2013). You can read more from David about his new book on his blog at the University of Warwick, read an illuminating interview with him by Simon Kövesi in the latest John Clare Society Journal, and follow his work via his website and Twitter.

    Worple Press was founded by Peter and Amanda Carpenter in 1997. Since then they have published a wide range of authors, including Iain Sinclair, Joseph Woods, Elizabeth Cook, Beverley Bie Brahic, Clive Wilmer and Kevin Jackson. They published the selected poems of the acclaimed American nature poet Peter Kane Dufault for the first time in the UK (Looking in All Directions); this was followed in 2007 by Kane Dufault's To be in the same world. Peter Robinson's The Great Friend and Other Translated Poems was the Poetry Book Society Recommended Translation for Spring 2002. This impressive backlist was augmented in 2012 by three significant titles: Passio: Fourteen Poems by Janos Pilinszky from Clive Wilmer and George Gomori; Riddance by Anthony Wilson; and the republication of William Hayward's cult novel from 1964, It Never Gets Dark All Night. Over 2013 and 2014 new titles include work from John Greening, Michael McKimm, Peter Robinson, Mary Woodward and Sally Flint. More information can be found on Worple Press’s new website and Facebook page.

    Copyright information: please note that the copyrights of all the poems displayed on the website and sent out on the mailing list are held by the respective authors, translators or estates, and no work should be reproduced without first gaining permission from the individual publishers.