23 May 2010

Another one

The gift orbits us
For H, then and now

I searched the crevices of the chair,
putting my fingers where my eyes were reluctant to go,
and sat back on my heels
with two bent bookmarks
and an old pen with a tiny rose in its lid.

I’m telling you, I told you,
that chair has a throat and a stomach. If ever
I have it recovered, I will ask the upholsterers
to search for your rectangle of glittering stones.

And I will return it –
in two or twenty years’ time.
I know the worth of that now;
I look forward to it.

As well as to the next time I drive to you,
all of three minutes away;
one road linking our homes.
A dip and a slight climb
that takes me through sun shot off glass,
shadows loosed by walls;
often the single great plane of night.
Hard to imagine traversing such solidity,
effortless in practice.

It seems that much of my life,
this life I remember
after the one I inhabited as a child,
is being spent with you with me
or in my thoughts.

When your voice was remote
there was your handwriting;
the two so similar, fast flowing.
But now you’re here,
and though you say it may change any day,
we’ve slowed into deeper water:
it feels permanent.

(First published in New Contrast 149, Autumn 2010)

21 May 2010

Dipping into 2010

Molly Wizenberg A Homemade Life
Breyten Breytenbach Notes from the Middle World

13 May 2010

Read 2010

Barbara Kingsolver Animal Dreams (28/12/10) (again)
Agatha Christie The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (26/12/10) (again)
Alexander McCall Smith Corduroy Mansions (13/12/10)
Yann Martel Beatrice and Virgil (11/12/10)
Molly Gloss The Hearts of Horses (9/12/10)
AS Byatt Angels and Insects: The Conjugial Angel (6/12/10)
Roberston Davies The Salterton Trilogy: A Mixture of Frailties (2/12/10)
Helen Simonson Major Pettigrew's Last Stand (30/11/10)
Robertson Davies The Salterton Trilogy: Leaven of Malice (24/11/10)
Robertson Davies The Salterton Trilogy: Tempest-tost (21/11/10)
Audrey Niffenegger Her Fearful Symmetry (20/11/10)
AS Byatt Angels and Insects: Morpho Eugenia (18/11/10)
Zakes Mda She Plays with the Darkness (16/11/10) (left off)
Barbara Trapido Frankie & Stankie (14/11/10) (left off)
Henning Mankell Chronicler of the Winds (10/11/10)
Ellis Peters Brother Cadfael's Penance (6/11/10) (again)
Anne Michaels The Winter Vault (28/10/10) (again)
Tim Winton Dirt Music (23/10/10)
Alice Hoffman The River King (19/10/10)
Finuala Dowling Flyleaf (16/10/10)
Yann Martel Life of Pi (10/10/10) (again)
Agatha Christie A Caribbean Mystery (9/10/10) (again)
Henry James The Aspern Papers (1/10/10)
Nick Hornby A Long Way Down (27/9/10) (unfinished)
Molly Wizenberg A Homemade Life (22/9/10) (shifted to 'Dipping into')
Agatha Christie Sad Cypress (20/9/10) (again)
Agatha Christie Nemesis (18/9/10) (again)
Robertson Davies The Deptford Trilogy: World of Wonders (15/9/10)
Robertson Davies The Deptford Trilogy: The Manticore (8/9/10)
Robertson Davies The Deptford Trilogy: Fifth Business (1/9/10)
Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (26/8/10)
Andrea Barrett Secret Harmonies (21/8/10)
Per Petterson Out Stealing Horses (transl A Born) (18/8/10)
Petina Gappah An Elegy for Easterly (1/8/10) (left off)
Meg Rosoff The Bride's Farewell (29/7/10) (recommended by Heather)
Primo Levi The Truce (24/7/10)
Primo Levi If This Is a Man (20/7/10)
Antony Sher Primo Time (15/7/10)
Zakes Mda Black Diamond (8/7/10)
Chris Bohjalian The Double Bind (30/6/10)
Nancy Mitford Pigeon Pie (21/6/10)
Martin Cruz Smith Gorky Park (13/6/10) (resumed)
François Gantheret Lost Bodies (transl E Cameron) (12/6/10)
Martin Cruz Smith Gorky Park (8/6/10) (interrupted)
Ben Elton Meltdown (4/6/10)
Lynne Reid Banks Two is Lonely (31/5/10)
Lynne Reid Banks The Backward Shadow (24/5/10)
Colette Julie de Carneilhan (18/5/10) (again)
Marilynne Robinson Housekeeping (11/5/10)
Christopher Nicholson The Elephant Keeper (7/5/10) (stopped halfway through)
Malcolm Gladwell Outliers (3/5/10)
Barbara Kingsolver The Lacuna (22/4/10)

Rumer Godden An Episode of Sparrows (18/4/10)
Tim Winton Shallows (14/4/10)
Stef Penney The Tenderness of Wolves (8/4/10) (again)
Bruce Robinson The Peculiar Memories of Thomas Penman (4/4/10)
Adam Foulds The Truth about These Strange Times (30/3/10)
Tracy Chevalier Girl with a Pearl Earring (24/3/10) (again)
Sebastian Faulks Engleby (20/3/10)
Cormac McCarthy Cities of the Plain (15/3/10)
Michael Moorcock The War Lord of the Air (13/3/10)
Fiona Snyckers Trinity Rising (7/3/10)
Bram Stoker Dracula (27/2/10)
Ellis Peters The Holy Thief (23/2/10) (again)
Ellis Peters Monk's-Hood (19/2/10) (again)
Reif Larsen The Selected Works of TS Spivet (16/2/10) (couldn't get into it, try again another time)
Rumer Godden The Dark Horse (14/2/10)
Thomas Keneally The Widow and Her Hero (10/2/10)
Stieg Larsson The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (7/2/10)
Mervyn Peake Letters from a Lost Uncle (3/2/10)
Kim Edwards The Memory Keeper's Daughter (31/1/10)
Tim Winton Cloudstreet (23/1/10)
WG Sebald and Jan Peter Tripp Unrecounted (10/1/10)
AS Byatt The Children's Book (6/1/10)
Belinda Starling The Journal of Dora Damage (2/1/10)

Read 2009

Alexander McCall Smith Heavenly Date and Other Flirtations (28/12/09)
Agatha Christie Hercule Poirot's Christmas (24/12/09) (again)
Esther Woolfson Corvus: A Life with Birds (1/12/09) (didn't finish it)
Marlene van Niekerk Agaat (transl M Heyns) (1/12/09)
Barbara Pym Excellent Women (29/11/09)
Neil Gaiman Coraline (25/11/09)
Claire Messud The Emperor’s Children (19/11/09)