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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Foliate Head, on sale--

Just back from the coast and noticed that The Foliate Head (second printing, hardcover) is now listed as not out of print and is on a very good sale. In fact, it is no longer 15 pounds but a mere 4 pounds. So, get it while you can--P. S. Publishing end of print run and clearance sale! Scrumptious wodwos art by Clive Hicks-Jenkins, wonderful design by Andrew Wakelin. Poems by me--for more samples, go here.


Peering from medieval churches,
Dressed in leaves of ash and birches,

Camperdown elm and English oak,
Doghobble, sassafras, and poke,

Here winks the sprite who can transcend
His yearly death, for whom no end

Can be unless by our misdeed.
His verdant woman bleeds to breed

A world of leaves, his phoenix-pet
Cries cockerel against regret,

Remorse, and all that’s passed away
While crowing-in triumphant day.

The green man’s lodge is budding wood,
His roofbeam’s resurrection rood,

The axis mundi staking cloud
To earth and realms below the shroud.

The roulette balls fly round the sun,
The spiral years are never done . . .

Within my dreams, he’s young and lithe,
Unheeding of the reaper’s scythe,

But when I meet him in the park,
He’s changed his guise from light to dark;

I go to grasp his creaking hands
And find him dressed in swaddling bands.    


    1. Phew. A series of eight-syllable couplets which appear deceptively simple (a modification of the realtor's weird locution "deceptively spacious") but which aren't at all. Gasps of breath which force the writer to get across what she has to say darned quick. Real poets look for and respond to metrical restrictions like this, it's something Auden recommends in The Dyer's Hand. A statement which proved I wasn't, and would never be, a poet, given that once I departed from the Shakesperean sonnet format I was adrift south of the Marquesas without a rudder. Not that the sonnets were actually Shakespearean, y'unnerstan.

      I am impressed by the historical and geographical scope: medieval churches rubbing shoulders with sassafras, a version of the globe where the Atlantic ocean magically disappears and we are left simply with the poetic tradition. Did you know rood has another quite separate (English) meaning, nothing to do with this one?

      Hey, at four quid I can't lose. Now let's see if your vending machine is as clear-sighted as your poetry.

      1. Oh, I read The Dyer's Hand so many years ago that I don't recall it at all--not surprising with my sort of memory. Perhaps I should read it again.

        Remember Merrill Moore's book "M"--one thousand sonnets. He didn't depart!

        I know rood is also a measure of (shortish) length as well as of land (rods and roods are related, I suppose.) Is that what you mean? It probably means all sorts of interesting dialect things I don't master!

        And I'm glad you read the poem and liked it, O alliterative Roderick Robinson!

    2. Oh heck. It's wretched Paypal, whereof I've had problems. Any other options?

      1. Usually one can start the Paypal process and shift to a credit card, but I'm not sure about PSP workings--can't remember. Try it?

      2. Or I expect that you can call them... I just looked at the site: "We use PayPal as our "payment gateway", but - in most cases - you don't need to have a PayPal account to pay by credit card through PayPal's gateway. If you find you can't pay by credit card and you're unwilling or unable to use a PayPal account send us an email and we'll try to set up some alternative with you." Also: "Phone: +44 (0) 1964 532666
        Fax: +44 (0) 1964 537535 To send us an email - whether it's a general enquiry, a request to make an order for payment by cheque, or anything else - please use the form on the contact page."


    Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.