Poetry Centre

Weekly Poem for 23 June 2008

  • Amaretti

    Toadstool tops.  Two.  Cracked as nana’s old
    knee sore.  And you launched one: thumb-spun
    higher than a dollar - your mouth - that catpink
    ridge-beam waiting; barely budged your chin to
    grind it like a roof tile; offered the other, pathetic
    as a button on your outstretched palm.  And I
    snatched it quick as a whisker, bit, felt my tongue
    melt caverns deep inside, release its acrid-sweet
    almond adultness -
                                      which I dribbled out in spite
    of the almost-shake of your loaf, the high arches
    of your brows.  Then you tunnelled the wrapper
    between fingers to roll a joke, a giant’s
    cigarillo from air’s tobacco; stood it
    end first on ma’s stainless tea tray, flicked
    your flint lighter to chase the tip with flame
    which seeped downwards, filled my head
    with burning -
                                      until, at the last,
    it wobbled, transfigured, a ganglion
    of desire there, rose up into our cathedralled
    Italian stairwell: willed wisp of your making
    who stood, an edifice of father frowning
    his gargoyled wonder into mine, our wish
    held up by ash, all trembling, climbing
    into hallowed space.

    by Mario Petrucci

    from Flowers of Sulphur (2007)

    Flowers of Sulphur crackles with metaphorical energy.  Over a decade in the making, this remarkable new book confirms Petrucci's reputation for exploring the gamut of human experience.  It demonstrates, once again, his rare capacity to bridge the gap between science and poetry with power and authenticity. ‘As with the best poets, thinking and feeling are, for Petrucci, a single act' (George Szirtes). Indeed, just as we now know that light is both corpuscular and wave-like in nature, so Flowers of Sulphur is able to embody many, often seemingly paradoxical, qualities.  These poems ring with complexity and clarity: like our quantum world, this award-winning collection reinvents itself moment to moment so as to unsettle, move and inspire us.

    Mario Petrucci is an ecologist, physicist and war poet. He is also the only poet to have been in residence at the Imperial War Museum. His book-length sequence on Chernobyl won the Daily Telegraph / Arvon International Poetry Competition in 2002. A Natural Sciences graduate, Mario works as an educator and a radio/TV broadcaster. Poems from Heavy Water are featured in Poetry Review, The London Magazine, Acumen, Agenda, on BBC Radio and at The Royal Festival Hall. Flowers of Sulphur has won an Arts Council of England Writers' Award and the London Arts New London Writers Award, but also collects together many individual prize-winning poems, including successes in the Bridport, the London Writers Competition, and Frogmore and the National Poetry Competition.

    Founded in 1967, Enitharmon Press publishes fine quality literary editions. While specialising in poetry, we also publish fiction, essays, memoirs, translations, and an extensive list of artists’ books.