Poem introduction

This is from 'Punch's Day Book'

Punch's Day-Book - an extract

'There are those who plan to die
blameless, open-handed, an unwritten letter.
We can't aspire to that.
We lack the pure compulsion and the nerve.

The orchard's harvested; the stoves are lit
to burn all winter; the house is steeped
in a musty odour of fruit.
Think how it is
to own nothing, to carry nothing
from one place to the next...
Unburdened, my body grows
featureless. I could disappear in water,
be perfectly matched to grassland.
Every tree
is stripped and life goes on underground;
even the telephone's in hibernation.

I shall be here, of course,
seeing the season out from my fireside chair,
sometimes bringing apples down from the loft
or walking to church. If I should stray,
how would you ever find me?-
a pallid silhouette
on a clear road, like any refugee.'


from Mister Punch (Oxford University Press, 1984), copyright © David Harsent 1984, used by permission of the author

Recordings

David Harsent

David Harsent Reading from his Poems

1Old Photographs

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2Cockade

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3Terms

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4Haircut

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5Endurance

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6Bodinnick

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7Punch's Day Book - an extract

8Punch's Day Book - an extract

9Mother and Child

10Fylfot

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11The Sorrow of Sarajevo

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12A Common Story

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13Coverack

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14Marriage - an extract (1)

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15Marriage - an extract (2)

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16Marriage - an extract (3)

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17The hare as witch animal

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18The hare as bad omen

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19The hare used as a hieroglyph

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20Crapshoot

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21Toffee

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22Ghost Archaeology

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23Harp Strings

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24Sniper

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25Finisterre

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26Goodwife's Tale

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27Arena

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28Notes from Exile

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29At the Riverside

30The Player

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Books by David Harsent