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Peter Scupham

Image by Caroline Forbes

The Gatehouse

The Gatehouse

Late. And though the house fills out with music,
This left hand takes me down a branching line
To the slow outskirts of a market town.
We are walking to the Gatehouse. Mr Curtis
Will call me Peäter in broad Lincolnshire;
Recurrants glow, molten about the shade,
The cows are switched along a ragged lane.
Tonight, my son tousles away at Chopin
And a grandfather whom he never knew
Plays Brahms and Schumann at the same keyboard -
Schiedmayer and Soehne, Stuttgart -
The older, stronger hands ghosting a ground-bass
Out of a life whose texture still eludes me,
Yet both hold up their candles to the night.
The Gatehouse settles back into the trees,
Rich in its faded hens, its garden privy
Sweet with excrement and early summer.
New bread and sticky cake for tea. The needle
Dances across: Line Clear to Train on Line;
The lane is music too, it has no ending
But vanishes in shifting copse and woodsmoke.
The levels cross: a light and singing wind,
Arpeggios, a pause upon the air.
The gate is white and cold. I swing it to,
Then climb between the steady bars to watch
The station blurring out at the world's end.
The wagons beat their poésie du départ;
The lamps are wiped and lit. Then we, too, go.

from The Small Containers (Phoenix Pamphlet Poets, Peterloo, 1972), copyright © Peter Scupham 1972, used by permission of the author


Peter Scupham

Peter Scupham Reading from his poems


2The Nondescript


4Four Fish

5The Gatehouse

6Song for Sophie

7Answers to Correspondents

8Cat’s Cradle

9When the Train Stops

10The Spanish Train


12Going Out, Lancasters

13Jacob's Ladder

14Under the Barrage

15V.E. Day


17The Web

18A Twist of Water


20Monet's Garden


22The Provisional Thing



25The Key

26First Things, Last Things

27The Clock and the Orange

28Young Ghost

29Dancing Shoes

30From Dying: november 24th 1989

31From Dying: 'I have lived in a world which makes intelligible certain older worlds...'

32From Dying: 'Look in the next room...'

33From Dying: 'Who do you say you are?'

34From Dying: January 10th, 1990

35Watching the Perseids: Remembering the Dead

36Faces Come Thicker at Night

37Night Kitchen

38Leave the Door Open

Books by Peter Scupham