(For Martin Seymour-Smith)
Do not forget me quiet, my screen of histories,
sudden sorted veils of Malvern fog, the Royal Colleges
of grasses, wood and wind, curtained triptych of examiners.
Part-songs crisp old scores, their dusks of flaky lemon blend
into Howells’ discipline, span his arched hand under
tangs of March and sky – fallen bright so they’ll not forget him.
They called me Schubert – (I talked to Ludwig Van . . .
Not here. Nor Marion, nor once sonorities listen . . .
It is these divides on, from a ground I couldn’t learn).
Lights Out, flare bracket settings, slice arcs – sing out of night
as if eclipsing me: their piano-wire shaves the moon’s dark cheese.
My first songs’ craft leaves its cold rind only in my arms.
Even that’s light under the nurse’s door, under the bridge
to those minor elegiac regrets of Stanford. Instruments
I couldn’t harmonise, brass dull buckling. So, here –
Put away your trumpet, stow its mute, shut shires. Play on
stanzas, hushed staves. My trajectory’s one voice only; accompanied
as I am, honest’s out of craft, of perfect conversation.