Robert Saxton, Poetry Website

The Promise Clinic

No Text First collection published by Enitharmon 1994

The Promise Clinic

Blurb from the book cover,
quoted from Peter Forbes, former editor of Poetry Review:

‘Robert Saxton writes the best sestinas and villanelles since Auden -- menacing but insidiously entertaining -- and his imagination stretches out in playful fantasies involving Lawn Aerator Sandals, The Life of the Slug and The Farmyard Crocodile. His characteristic note is a version of the pastoral in which things jog along pleasantly in benign-bizarre mode, until darker realities intrude: “We’re munching zeds, in fours, with a wry spark/ And crackle, snoring quietly ... the first transistors dreaming of the park.” (‘Radio Ga-Ga’). Here is wit of a high order, and a poem like ‘A Motel Room Near St Austell’ fuses wit and feeling in an uncannily Eliotic manner:

And to such flickering one is drawn
Like hand to fur, or cup to lip.
Where I had meant to smooth, I scare,
And drown where she had thought to sip.’

Peter Forbes

.......


Contents

* indicates poems that are published below (after the Contents),
both copyright Robert Saxton 2007



Caveat Emptor

One


Foraging

The Rainy Season
Mohicans
High Becquerel Farm
River Red with Berries
The Alligator Hotel

Two


Esperanto Spoken

White Water
Wrong Holiday
A Motel Room Near St Austell
A Malachite Egg
Blind Love
The Makeshifter Calls*
Devil’s Prothalamion
Mirror Friends
Thousand-Island Dressing
Crossroads
Brent Geese at Pagham Harbour
A Farmhouse Interior
The Night of Invincible Hail
Away From It All
Lawn Aerator Sandals
The Promise Clinic

Others


Dissolution

The Angel Roof*
A Drink in a Country Churchyard
Stoning Byron’s Ghost
The Stunted Oakwood
Upstairs
The Life of the Slug
Esperanto Nights
The Age of Chivalry
The Café-Bookshop
Remembrance Day
The Life of the Salmon
The Shingled Roof
The Lighthouse
Victoriana
Fish Christmas
Radio Ga-Ga
Reflections
Warning from the Bookmark Council
Anglaiseries
Animals in Architecture
The Farmyard Crocodile
Treasure Island
The Manatee and the Dugong
Wild Food
A Landscape


.....



Two poems from The Promise Clinic:



THE MAKESHIFTER CALLS


He was an hour late

and that was an hour of worry.
Nothing was going right
and no one was even saying sorry.

Everything was makeshift, unreliable,

as I’d explained to my GP,
whose Freudian face and lovely surgery
(Victorian globe, leather books, serpentine couch)
had made me think, naively, he might be of some use to me.

So I’d looked in the
Yellow Pages
and chosen the largest, most pictorial ad,
a firm with three telephone numbers and the prefix Euro-.
We never close, all credit cards taken, it said.

He turned up at the same time

As my notorious on-the-run lover.
His leather case was scarred like a favourite toy
and smeared with butter from his previous call
where he’d amiably plonked it on the tea table,
over the muffins, before pulling out
all his little springs you attach yourself to the future by.



THE ANGEL ROOF


Blythburgh 1644



Above our heads, moored in their plash

Of stars, apart,
Unregarded, watching us strain
At the massive vehicle of our faith
Stuck in the years of change,
The angels rode.

We argued. We were confused. Hearts liquid

With fear. An old man
Caught with beads by his bed
Was sentenced to beating hemp for a month.
Many whispered the old language
Under the new.

Each ship that hove into view

Seemed larger
Than the last. Our shrunken harbour yearned
for salt. Some families found help
In worm-eaten books hidden
Beneath their floors.

One day a small ship touched our shores,

Landing horses and men.
We had to pay to have our own brass removed.
Gunsmoke possessed the slanting
Broken light. They proffered
Mock courtesies,

Uttering deliberate gibberish.

Suddenly the angels
Looked pained, pitiful, and the moment before
The bullets rattled home
Turned, some said, to wood; others,
To flesh and bone.



............

To buy a copy of The Promise Clinic, please send a cheque for £4 made payable to Robert M. Saxton to:

Robert Saxton, c/o 64 Derby Road, Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Notts NG17 9AU

Powered by WebGuild Solo

This website ©2006-2017 Robert Saxton