Book Ends

Baked the day she suddenly dropped dead
we chew it slowly that last apple pie.

Shocked into sleeplessness you're scared of bed.
We never could talk much, and now don't try.

You're like book ends, the pair of you, she'd say,
Hog that grate, say nothing, sit, sleep, stare...

The 'scholar' me, you, worn out on poor pay,
only our silence made us seem a pair.

Not as good for staring in, blue gas,
too regular each bud, each yellow spike.

A night you need my company to pass
and she not here to tell us we're alike!

You're life's all shattered into smithereens.

Back in our silences and sullen looks,
for all the Scotch we drink, what's still between's
not the thirty or so years, but books, books, books.


Tony Harrison

Tony Harrison Reading from his poems

1Thomas Campey and the Copernican System

2The Pocket Wars of Peanuts Joe

3The Bedbug

4Guava Libre

5Prague Spring

6The Nuptial Torches

7'Flying down to Rio'


9On Not Being Milton

10Classics Society

11National Trust

12Them & [uz]

13Book Ends



16Marked with D.

17The Icing Hand


19Under the Clock


21Initial Illumination

22A Cold Coming

23Legal Ruling

24The Cycles of Donji Vakuf

25Noah's Sacrifice

26Fig on the Tyne

27The Krieg Anthology (extracts)