Couldn't you be a little well
For a little while longer?
Oh how I love your presence
And your virtue
If you could be just a little stronger
Would that hurt you?
All fair things perish, we know,
Yet death is a horrid surprise –
Just to see you so low
It rips my heart in two.
Tears burst unprompted from my eyes
Is there nothing I can do?
No, there's nothing I can do.
Just for a little while
Be a little well, love, if you can
Grant me that lovely smile.
I promise I'll smile too.
As I hold your frail hand, I'll
Hold back the chill that will befall.
Can't you be a little well at all?
The Guardian's Saturday Poem, 14th May 2011.
Although better known for his achievements in science-fiction, Brian Aldiss’s poetry has been an integral part of his creative activity throughout his writing life.
Mortal Morning brings together a selection of his best and most representative poems, including those with a science-fiction or metaphysical slant; deeply personal poems about family and loss; and poems of everyday life. A sequence of poems about artists and their work includes reflections on Gauguin’s Tahiti paintings, Kandinsky and Francis Bacon. As a poet, Aldiss is versatile and frequently surprising, creating work that ranges from intimate and introspective to humorous, bold and surreal. Mortal Morning will appeal to his many loyal readers and those who are yet to encounter his unique work and talent.
"The genres of science fiction and poetry have (apparently) not inspired each other often, or with great success... Brian Aldiss, does not fall into this category... Mortal Morning occupies a space between fantasy and realism."
Jonathan Taylor, TLS
"Many of the poems in the collection deal with loss and sorrow, but science fans will not feel short-changed."
"A handsome and surprising selected poems from the distinguished science-fiction writer. These poems are formally accomplished, thematically wide-ranging and very good indeed."
Peter Bennet, Other Poetry
"The poem 'Lu Tai' is lovely and classically timeless...you can tell immediately that he has loved poetry for a long time."
Helena Nelson, Ambit
Brian Aldiss, who was awarded an OBE for Services to Literature in 2005, is the author of over 60 books and is especially well known for his science fiction novels and short stories. Born in Dereham, Norfolk, in 1925, Aldiss’s long career has included the acclaimed novels Hothouse, Non-Stop and the Helliconia trilogy, all regarded as modern classics and reprinted by Gollancz in 2010. Aldiss’s work has been adapted for the cinema three times, including for the 2001 Kubrick/Spielberg production AI: Artificial Intelligence, and in 2000 he was elected Grand Master by the Science Fiction Writers of America.