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Poem of the Week - ‘Nightwalking’ by David Attwool

Posted on June 30, 2015 by Pete Hebden | 1 comment

I’ve been saving this one up for weeks and finally the time is here. 

This week’s poem comes from David Attwool’s great new collection The Sound Ladder (Two Rivers Press, 2015), which contains, among other fine poems, a sequence called “Ground Work”, made up of one poem for each month of the year, reflecting on the seasonal changes of a floodplain bordering Oxford and the Thames. 

See what you think of July’s entry:


after Philip Sidney & Charles Mingus

The moon in jive-ass slippers dances close
to offer back neglected things we lost:
a partner’s kiss, a porkpie hat, a face
that brightens as she coolly circles past.

Two weeks of heatwave and the hottest day
for seven years unpacked by warm fat rain:
the scents of earth and river, dung and hay,
sweet and rotten, beneath a perigee moon.

The ghost of a riff on moonlit ground
- Boogie Stop Shuffle and a walking bass - 
the furthest supernova ever found,
a faint signature at the edge of space

ten billion years ago. We stray
in Mingus landscapes here, places to play.


Well, for a start, anyone whose epigraph says “after Philip Sidney & Charles Mingus” pretty much had me at hello. But what I really love about this poem is the tone of the whole thing; the way the combination in the epigraph slowly unpacks into a sonnet that is, on the one hand, solemn and cosmic in its scope, while at the same time managing to remain carefree and... well, jazzy. I think both Philip and Charles would approve.

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  • Jalina Mhyana

    Lovely as usual, David!


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