About the poet
Michael Hamburger (1924 - 2007) was born into a German family of Jewish descent in Berlin,...
From a Diary of Non-Events - January
Damped light. The daily lane.
Four times above it
The dubious bird,
And no binoculars on me.
A blackbird silhouette
But the tones leafless, bare
As where it perches, the high willow bough,
Not the accented phrase
That's small-talk still.
No stress, arpeggio, trill,
More monologue than call -
To whom, to whom whom whom, whom whom...
And that continuous.
With quarter-tones in it?
If so, not for these damned iambics,
Not for noise-cluttered ears
Another 'elegy' for Edward Thomas's England,
His bird, the missel-thrush
Suburbanized even then, but commonly met,
Vernacular of the footpath, pavement, road.
Revenant now at best
In half-light, half-remembrance, half-recognition
Here, where by order once again
The skeletal hedgerows have been slashed
So that container trucks grown cottage-sized,
Tanker, delivery van
Suffer no damage, no delay
To their prefabricated bulk
Ever more smoothly coming, going, gone.
And in between, on the same willow bough,
This hint of a return the rumbling drowns.
from A Diary of Non-Events (Anvil Press Poetry, 2002), copyright © Michael Hamburger 2002, used by permission of the author and the publisher
Michael Hamburger Reading from his Poems. (The poems on this tracklist are not currently available to download. You can purchase the full CD via the link below.)