Clearing the Distance: Poems 1974-1978. Leamington: Arts Co-operative, 1978.
This was my first book of poems and is now unavailable, unless the well-known rare book dealer Rick Gekoski still has copies. I think he bought six copies from me at the time.
The symbols on the cover (taken from Jerome Rothenburg’s Technicians of the
Sacred) represent signs from the Ekoi tribe, Nigeria. From top to bottom they signify:
A man who stand a long way off and says have nothing to do with the case. A prisoner who has the reputation of being constantly in love.
A Judge’s house.
A comet which has lately been seen by the townspeople.
I reproduce one poem here.
sits as mantling falcon wings tremor cathedral whose rocked drilled walls multiply invisible action discontinuous to descry stone for sky penetration to bolt still moving eyes on rigid spines still working the folk fields of a salt marsh sun. against tremor buttresses cold hammered of breath shadows halt slipping tower upward pull to let light through to rest earth labour heavy on October sky horizon. against tremor piers invent music trefoil cusps quartrefoil random light dances through crafted branches black stems ride through many colours to deny circumference centre abandoned so no imps here celtic laughter proofs of old gods multiplying life as translations taking the tremor taking terror taking memory to be used not hoarded into green shade laughter of delight ((refusing the red leaf under the childâ€™s foot in English beechwoods where aeons turn all to coal where fossils cold in melancholy county handsÂ ensure continuance in a thousand years of partially responding eyes our sweet faces are driven in the freeway our eyes defiant to recognize to inherit the earth of our making as Darwin recording the tremor in Valdivia February 20 1838 an earthquake like this moves to destroyÂ the oldest associations it moves beneath our feet like crust over a fluid to cry out these stones to shape dispersal of Faustian moments in an exact resistance