Image by Earl D. Brechlin, Editor, Mount Desert Islander

Poem introduction

This is a poem about what Wordsworth referred to as "spots of time" when we sense or may sense the matrix of reality. Its epigraph comes from Oedipus at Colonus:

Identity

Come: do not touch me: let me alone discover
The holy and funereal ground where I
Must take this fated earth to be my shroud.

Identity

Ego teeters on the tip of years
Honks a last horn, taps flippers, rears
To cheers and fish and waddles off,
An old thespian with a cough
Retreating to a circus cage
After a lifetime centre stage
To rot behind steel bars and wait.

Self examines the heap of time,
Hefts what is left, sifts all behind,
Gathers toddler tears, abiding pain
From rejection, not risked again,
Compacts the lot to stucco paste,
Concots history out of waste
and plays Macaulay with your life.

I bursts the bonds of blood and bone
More often now as head grows bare -
Diving at dusk form a Greek cliff,
Heels rising over sea; sheets mussed,
Languorous beside a lover
For the first time; the house hushed
By a violin heralding
Violetta's death - being blanks,
Ego and sef wink out, no sound, no
Clock ticks, no up, down, for a breath
All comes to view, math's phantom strings
Shivering beneath the stars beside
A loathed or longed for face,
Silver for sere indignities.


from We Look Like This (Carcanet, 2012), © Dan Burt, used by permission of the author and the publisher

Recordings

Dan Burt Reading from his poems

1Who He Was I

2Who He Was V

3Certain Windows - extract

4Indices

5Rosebud

6Blind Date

7Texaco Saturday Afternoon Opera

8Cabaletta

9All the Dark Years

10Homage for a Waterman

11John Winthrop's Ghost

12After Lunch 13Little Black Dress

14Kept

15Winter Mornings 16The Faithful 17Momentum 18Three Sonnets on the Coup De Grace 19Uphill to the Right 20Manque 21Modern Painters 22A Brewing Tale 23Rigoletto 24Summa 25Motes

26Identity

27Beside a Cove 28The Institute

29Trade

Books & cds by Dan Burt