A Twist of Water

A Twist of Water

It is always pouring itself away.
The scullery tap, when pipes knock and throb,
Wheels its head over a rod of water
With a sugar-stick twist, a cripple's twist,
Which only looks like a stronger, deeper light
Against all the other lights which have wandered
In from the garden.

And under it you can hold your rose of fingers
That has been places - a fistful without memory -
That curled in the womb, that has known
Such crush and pile of stuff, tasks under leaves,
Gestures in rooms where all the talk has run
Far out into yards and yards of blown fabric;
Known running water

Which always runs with a twist, though steady,
Its million beads fused in a shaking rod,
A racing pulse that your weeping hand flows through,
Feeling its lucid weight, the flap of a flame
Through which a finger can pass without much pain.
And still it is pouring itself away,
This trickster's wand

Waved over a tiny, white-lipped cut
Where the blood is rinsed in light, the blood
Which is not thicker than water, and quickly lost,
As if all those hurts which poison the wells
Could be cleansed by something brilliant as this,
Kind, held in a twist, like space, like time,
Which are pouring away.


from The Air Show (OUP, 1988) , copyright © Peter Scupham 1988, used by permission of the author

Recordings

Peter Scupham

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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