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

Recordings

Peter Scupham

Peter Scupham Downloads

1Parting

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2The Nondescript

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3Prehistories

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4Four Fish

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5The Gatehouse

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6Song for Sophie

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7Answers to Correspondents

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8Cat’s Cradle

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9When the Train Stops

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10The Spanish Train

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11Blackout

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12Going Out, Lancasters

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13Jacob's Ladder

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14Under the Barrage

15V.E. Day

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16Service

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17The Web

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18A Twist of Water

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19Annunciations

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20Monet's Garden

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21Ragtime

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22The Provisional Thing

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23Divers

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24Close

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25The Key

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26First Things, Last Things

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27The Clock and the Orange

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28Young Ghost

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29Dancing Shoes

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30From Dying: november 24th 1989

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

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

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

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34From Dying: January 10th, 1990

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35Watching the Perseids: Remembering the Dead

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36Faces Come Thicker at Night

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37Night Kitchen

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38Leave the Door Open

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Books by Peter Scupham