Poetry Centre

Weekly Poem for 26 March 2012

  • Why

    he sweet-talks her in places
    she doesn’t want to be where her fingertips
    turn bloodless from the rhythmic
    pushing motions with her hands away away
    the tea he serves are wills and wonts she never hears him
    breathe at night
    beside him her dreams are tumbleweed and tell her I am only one
    over and over
    she chews time he hangs her love out to dry and oil paint takes
    a minimum of thirty years to dry she can never remember
    exactly this dream
    she has read somewhere six new planets orbit a star five
    in a liveable zone only
    they are light years from earth and already what we love is time
    they spent is slipping
    why is for Wyoming and weather and cross-eyed it is weightless
    and welcome
    and also for wasp and for where
    their love is finding a view she is sick of this small miracle
    under the clouds
    where he gets in her hair cajoles her outdoes her outwits her
    she may be an orange peeling itself under a desert sun
    when he can’t get over how beautiful yellow is!

    by Astrid Alben

    'Why' is copyright © Astrid Alben, 2011. It is reprinted by permission of Arc Publications from Ai! Ai! Pianissimo (Arc Publications, 2011).

    Astrid Alben is an Anglo-Dutch poet who grew up in Kent and the Netherlands. She read English Literature and Philosophy at Edinburgh University. Since 2006 her poems and reviews have been published in magazines such as The Wolf, Poetry Review, Drunken Boat, TLS, Stand and Shearsman. Alben has translated the poems of several Dutch contemporary poets, including the complete oeuvre of F. van Dixhoorn. Ai! Ai! Pianissimo is her first collection. She lives in Amsterdam and London. In 2004 Alben co-founded the Pars Foundation. Pars collects the findings – such as architectural sketches, articles, music scores, research data, journal excerpts – of renowned and emerging artists and scientists and binds these in a publications series. Findings on Ice (2007) and Findings on Elasticity (2011) were published as part of the Atlas of Creative Thinking. You can read more poems from Ai! Ai! Pianissimo here, and listen to Astrid Alben read her poems on her website.

    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.

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