This reading was recorded by Alessandro Mistrorigo at Phonodia LAB in Venice, Italy, on the 2nd of April, 2014.

Read by Douglas Reid Skinner on 2 April 2014


—i.m. Don Maclennan 1929–2009

In the middle of contemplating the strangeness of what
you might call ‘being conscious of self and world’,
I thought to ask what your ideas on the matter were,
imagining I’d find you asleep in the garden, your face
shaded by a battered old hat perched at
an odd angle, a book of Seferis half-open in your lap.

The photograph I have of you sitting in a striped deckchair
reminds me of just such a post-prandial afternoon
one spring when food and wine had all but overtaken speech
and intermittent conversation catalogued the losses
that accumulate: lovers; certainty; the strengths
we need to solve the singular puzzles of a sheer rock-face.

Bashō got it right. Examined up close, our anchors of love,
faith and joy, are fleeting, unfixed, more air
than anything else. Nothing’s ever the same as it was
a moment ago, before you read the lines you wrote.
Everything requires remaking and renewal.
That the centre doesn’t hold doesn’t matter—it never did.

from Blue Rivers (Plumstead: Snailpress/Crane River, 2011).

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