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PETER FINCH

Peter Finch works in both traditional and experimental forms and is a regular performer on the reading circuit. In the sixties and seventies he edited the ground-breaking literary magazine, Second Aeon, exhibited visual poetry internationally and toured with sound poet Bob Cobbing. From the early seventies until the late nineties he was treasurer of ALP (the Association of Little Presses). Between 1975 and 1998 he ran the Arts Council of Wales's specialist Oriel Bookshop in Cardiff. In 1998 he took up his current post with the Welsh Academy. He runs The Academi, The Welsh National Literature Promotion Agency and Society of Writers.


He has published more than 20 books of poetry including Food, Useful & Poems For Ghosts (Seren), Antibodies (Stride) and The Welsh Poems (Shearsman). His New & Selected Later Poems is forthcoming from Seren in 2007. 

His prose books include a number of critical guides including How To Publish Your Poetry and How To Publish Yourself (Allison & Busby) He also compiles the poetry section of Macmillan's annual Writer's Handbook and the self-publishing section for A&C Black's Writers' & Artists' Yearbook. He is a regular book reviewer and writes articles on Cardiff, Wales and the business of poetry. His poetry and criticism is widely published in magazines and anthologies. 

 

 

 

 

Quantum Mechanics

in the work of R S Thomas

 

Reciprocities

turning

large affirmation

inexplicable

dominant identity

destiny

intimate hearing

memoriam

velocity

reading book

cricket bat

lean owl

exaggerated crag

sheaf

simulacrum

stuffed turkey

ethos

throughout monotony denouement

blood

sky blood

all blood

sky skeleton frequencies

hide hiding hidden

 

select winner from list:

Joseph Conrad; Jacques Derrida; H.J.Blackham;

Ludwig Wittgenstein; Baruch Spinoza; C Norris

 

veal

blood

memorial philosophy particle probable

sheaf of poems

so large you wonder

 

argument ambiguity

age

butter

 

 

 

 

Zen Cymru

 

Abereiddy !

Ah, Abereiddy, ah !

Abereiddy, ah !

 

The beginning of autumn

Sea and sea and sea

All the same

 

eeeeeeee eeeeeee

eeeeeeee eeeeeeee

eee eeeeees

 

ssss sssssssssss

sssss  sss sssssss

sss ssssssssee

 

Could be  moon

Out there

Who cares

 

No more thunder

Hear hard belching

Outside the pub

 

By a cottage collapsed

Are men

Thinking of money

 

These sheep

So happy

How do you know they are not?

 

The stars speak so loud

In the Preseli blackness

It's just rain

 

Light over Trefdraeth

Behind the clouds

Then clear

 

The days go cold

And I am still in my khaki

Peg pants

 

This Wales leaks there isn't one

That doesn't

Is there?

 

Splottlands !

Ah Splottlands, ah !

Ah, Splott !

 

Tree looks like wind

Wave is moon spirit

Wrecked car what we do

 

On the great gable porch of

St John the Baptist Sikh glory

The butterfly bush still blooms

 

In this vast Wales you must not help yourself to any

meadow, flower or rockoutcrop that belongs to another.

Mountains, springs, the peat wildernesses all have an owner;

be careful about this.

 

Go out and you meet yourself

Come home

And you're still there

 

Is that the cloud moving?

Maybe

So what

 

On the headland

Do not speak

This is such a virtue

 

R S was once asked by an acolyte

"What is the meaning of the thin tongue inheriting the universe?"

R S answered

"The mangels in the fields below the hills"

 

If you know, you don't speak

If you babble, you have no idea

We are a nation of noisy bastards

 

The sea darkens

You can see the small boats dumping oil drums

By the light of the stars

 

Sea

Ahh eeeeee

Ahh eeeeee

 

Saunders wrote, he could have done:

poems and science are opposed,

the former purposing immediate pleasure, unlike the

latter which is a hunt for truth. 

 

Red face

In the endless field

Then back to the tractor

 

Going to Paradise is good, and to fall into Hell also is a

matter of congratulation.  Old Buddha by the Golden

Road in the rocks of Foel Trigairn.  Still invisible.

 

The ships pass but make no move to leave their reflection,

the sea makes no effort to hold how they look.

The clouds drift

it is spring, it is autumn..

 

They are young people.   Though they are not

drunk  they still wreck the station and

are sick before the passengers.

 

"But what am I to do?" said Alice.  "Anything you like."

said the footman, and began whistling.

 

We hear the tune, you and I,

but inside our ears it is always a different one.

 

 

After The Row

 

He borrows her blue scarf she doesnít know about this.

He runs out into the night of ginkgo and frost.

He is four times around the park    his breath is smoking

   his bones like glass rods.

He is frozen to the cracked path and dead.

He is  in the deep woods lost. 

He is  crying into his hands. 

He is small so small but not  invisible.

He is smashing the street ice by stamping

   People would look but thereís no one there.

His head is lit red and his breath is burning.

He is flailing his arms nothing works.

He has checked everything and still does not understand.

   How could she?

The wind comes in from the east full of knives.

  He winds the scarf  around him

  her sweet smell for a moment

  and then itís gone.

 

 

No Bike

I have been speaking at my door with the distraught woman who has let her daughter go lost.  I am playing Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in here and feel like I am gliding up a highway in the sun.  The woman says her child - you know her, the one with the pink bike and its little outriders - was in the park, went to the park, peddled passed here, came up this road, along this path, this way,  you saw her smiling, you did.  I have been deep in the music and my head full of wide spaces I tell her I have not I am sorry I shake my head.  The  woman has on a white blouse with a button missing and straggle hair that's been clipped ragged where it brushes her chest.  Her shoes are flat and their leather is scratched.  She twists her hands into each other.  She looks back.  Along the road  there is no girl, no bike.  I can't tell her anything.  She has brown arms and a bangle.  She'll turn up.  I was with Mendelssohn.  The street is hot.   The music soared.  She is burning, this woman.  Her face is melting.  All of it, it's coming off.  For comfort I remind myself that in other places across the world there are worse fears in the faces of the destitute and the dying.  Worse than this.  I look at the woman again.  No, there are not.

 

 

copyright © Peter Finch