Monday 25 March 2013

Misreading the signs

This is one of my most typical poems, writing during a phase when I wanted to add disparate ingredients to poems without producing "hopeful monsters" (juxtapositional experiments that might or might not work). Here travel, regret, art, and "observables used as symbols" are all embedded in a hopefully believable narrative. Sheltering from rain, the persona has an art-induced epiphany of sorts - the narrative of the gallery tour collapses, art becomes loss, repeatable and commercialised. So what's misread? Quite a lot, even in the final lines

Looking about, still lost, I see a roadsign saying
it's not quarter past six so instead I walk straight
back into the city that I'll learn to love. It's no longer raining,
just dripping from the trees. It's not too late.

The road sign really means "no right turn" and besides, it's not for pedestrians. The rain's ceased (though the past is still dripping), the narrative's restored (the city beckons).

I made the movie (on the right) several years ago - a few scenes from Holland, but also from London and Italy. When the poem was first published in a magazine, the editor omitted the final "not".

No comments:

Post a Comment