Sunday, June 24, 2012

Tuesday Poem - Against the Silences to Come by Jennifer Compton

Against the Silences to Come                          
fr david mitchell                                                  

She is holding the faded blue chapbook in her hand
looking at herself looking at herself
she has carried it across the sea
                                                   & back again
                                                                         across the sea   
                                                    & back again
& she didn't know why
                                      until now.
                                                       The return of the ampersand.
Poets used ampersands back then
he did
& so did Ron Loewinsohn
Copyright © 1965 – Four Seasons Foundation
Distributed by City Lights Books
There is news of him.
                                   There is news to hand.
                                                                        News has come in.
There is news of the poet who gave her
AGAINST THE SILENCES TO COME                                     
in the kitchen of his flat in
                                            - as the taxi driver quipped -
                                                     Sentimental Road.
Where he gave birth to a typewriter
          while the refrigerator was 'making cold'.
His surname is written
                                     on the buffer page
                                                                    & the ancient price
& below
her name.
He is moored in a nursing home in Sydney
incapable of speech
his hand speaks for him
on the page
she finds
               she is not sorry for him
                                                     has no pity
                                                                       she finds
                                                                                      in fact
                                     she has been furious with him
from since then until now
since he picked her up & dropped her
all in one night.
He is sitting in the Babel Cafe
                                                     waiting for his wife & daughter
to dock tomorrow
                              - 'on the waterfront' -
he has bought a painting
for his daughter's room
it's mostly pink.
        she supposes
                             that he was drunk.                                                         
                                                            That habitual drunkeness
                                                       that comes across like charm
                            up to a certain point.
Tomorrow doesn't count.
                                         From tomorrow he would not ...
but tonight
once more for luck.
She supposes that she supposed
                                                    that she was safe because
- 'I write poetry too.'
& yet the gift.
                      I find on the last page of his famous book
I find a grief
                     a small grief
                                          a small grief like a sharp stone in my smart shoe
fr him.


  1. This is like one of those patchwork quilts with bits of pattern all over. And you look here and there and recognise all manner of familiar and unfamiliar things and you just keep on looking...:-)

  2. I found this very moving - and honest - more anger than pity and yet, that small grief at the end.

  3. Oh yes I just love coming to this this Saturday morning. Wow, love the way it meanders over the page, the way the eye and heart must wander with it, from love to pity to that pink child's room to all that she supposes and that grief grief grief at the end. I like the ampersand moments too.