Poetry Centre

Weekly Poem for 20 February 2012

  • In Praise of Reconnecting

    When I was a boy in Lushoto school, Tanganyika,
    playing marbles with Robin and Henry, one marble bounced in the dust
    and sprang off down a steep bank of scrubby grasses.
    It was gone at once. The sun-hot air
    carried no memory and no trace of its passing.
    We stood and looked helplessly down the almost vertical slope.
    Nothing but shrivelled grass and dust, and the occasional ant, the occasional fly…
    And we would have given up, shrugging our shoulders,
    had not Patrick the brother of Henry said: let’s set
    another marble to find it, put
    another marble where you last saw the lost one –

    and Henry picked up a shiny blue marble
    from our small supply
    and held it between two grass tussocks at the crest of the slope
    and let go. It vanished at once among the dusty grass-stems –
    and nothing happened a moment –
    and the moment grew longer –
    and then, from the grass far down on the bank, there came
    a quiet, unostentatious clink
    I have heard for six decades.

    by D.M. Black

    'In Praise of Reconnecting' is copyright © D.M. Black, 2011. It is reprinted by permission of Arc Publications from Claiming Kindred (Arc Publications, 2011).

    D.M. Black is a Scottish poet, born in South Africa in 1941, brought up in Scotland from 1950. He now lives in London and Wiltshire. In 1991 he produced a Collected Poems (Polygon), having previously published four collections of poems and a number of pamphlets. He was included in the first series of Penguin Modern Poets (no. 11, 1968) and his poems have appeared in numerous anthologies. Since 1991 he has published a collection of translations of Goethe, Love as Landscape Painter, and individual poems in a variety of journals including Modern Poetry in Translation, Poetry London, Stand, Thumbscrew, and the TLS. You can read two more poems from this new collection on Arc's site here, and read a review of his work from the Observer here.

    Since it was founded in 1969, Arc Publications has adhered to its fundamental principles – to introduce the best of new talent to a UK readership, including voices from overseas that would otherwise remain unheard in this country, and to remain at the cutting edge of contemporary poetry. Arc also has a music imprint, Arc Music, for the publication of books about music and musicians. As well as its page on Facebook, you can now find Arc on Twitter; search for @Arc_Poetry. Visit Arc's website to join the publisher's mailing list, and to find full details of all publications and writers. Arc offers a 10% discount on all books purchased from the website (except Collectors' Corner titles). Postage and packing is free within the UK.

    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.

    ( see all weekly poems )