Today I’m very proud to host two previously unpublished, new poems by Roderick Watson. Watson lives in Stirling and is an Emeritus Professor of English Studies (University of Stirling) with a particular focus on Scottish literature. His most recent poetry collection is Into the Blue Wavelengths (Luath Press). Watson is busy at present working on a ‘New and Selected Poems’ volume.
I was teaching again last night
talking of poetry and making
meaning out of music and music
out of meaning with a red-headed
girl telling me about bowel cancer
for some reason and Francis Bacon
and the terror of the flesh.
(Where did that come from?)
And it all made sense. the words
the dream the unfolding
lines of the poem
and a stillness in the room
when it was read aloud
with what is conjured up
as the Greeks say
when the god descends.
Otherwise we are just stuff.
I dreamed of the dead man who came to lunch
in the country house on a study weekend
who talked of books through the ages what lasts
what doesn’t and what was left unfinished.
Years ago. Where did he come from
my ambassador of the undone?
It was vivid at the time as everything is
(en passant as they say) like the grass
raging on the slope outside the library
running down to the stream
or the books on the shelves unopened
and family portraits of the lost.
(Their only son died in the war.)
Between the trees the pathway runs
to a river with salmon driven
to brave the rocks against the flow.
Where do they come from
these sudden returns?
The old friends you can’t rejoin
the regrets you had and left behind.
Why do they come back after
so many years? At night.
when you aren’t looking?
More lasting than bronze.