Three new poems from Philip Gross

A number of the new poems Philip Gross read at the excellent Poetry London launch a couple of weeks back referenced his father’s aphasia. I’ve been reading Philip’s The Son Of The Duke Of Nowhere recently, which also features poems about his father from a different period in his life, and so  I’m especially thrilled to post three new poems from him today. His new collection Deep Field is out in November from Bloodaxe.


Home, after too long
          in hospital, your each
               step hesitant
as if the moment was a shallow stream

to be waded (no
          way round it), maybe
               only inches deep
but too broad, too fast and too loose

with the light,
          its quartzy sand-bed
               patent, magnified,
yet quivering sideways, about to be gone.

Borrowed Light

          Sunup in the financial quarter, sheer
mirrorglass empires lit each by each other’s light

          reflected. Cool moon-brightness, each
transaction stripping some heat out in passing it on:

          value subtracted: that blue-silvery face
to my north-west now, too fiercely pale to look at—

          a snowblinding dazzle, like the brilliance
that a climber as the blizzard eases might think

          has been sent to show him where to go…

Flat Earthers

               Flat earth: how
          could they have thought it?
Where did they imagine that the sail

they watched diminish on a morning clear
as repining sank and yet sometimes
returned? And what
               could he be seeing
          now, my father on his doorstep,
one hand shielding his eyes, one raised

as if I was that sail, or more workaday
funnel (ferry, cruise ship or perhaps
the last boat out)
               that’s gone
          all but its smear on the haze?
Diminishment. You’d think it was the air

not his eyes fogging over — wipe, try
to wipe it with a wave, as I drop
not so much
               out of sight
          as out of question; feel myself
becoming hypothetical, not so much a fable

as that rattling loose-change data off the edge
of a world view, that we have
to dismiss
               for fear the world
          slips off its spindle.
Squinting into his gaze, I see myself

become a visitation, the kind
known by the vague
cool space
               it leaves behind it,
          as empty and charged
with a flavour, a heft, as the place

in which another word that he had
yesterday persists
in being,
               almost ruthlessly…

Philip’s last collection The Water Table won the 2009 TS Eliot Prize, find out more and buy it here

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