i.m. Victor Pasmore
The first haar of spring has hidden the Eden
and its estuary: as I round the bend,
the paper-mill trembles into view,
its square mass, chimney, and roof of slanted lights
dissolving in a blur of geometry
that is pure Pasmore; triangles,
cylinder, cube, pink and cygnet grey,
floating above banks of vapour.
As though his quiet river had drifted north,
or dawn had dipped its brush in Thames
waters at Pangbourne, say, or Wallingford,
to paint Guardbridge in watercolour.
Later, it was the spaces in between
possessed him: all the solid negatives
that Corfu’s searing light bequeathes:
gaps between stones
in dry-stone walls; dark rooms
among the cedar’s branches;
the structured nothingness that is not
nothing and demands we name it.
He would have liked this northern haar,
called it a sea-fret, applauded
the way it sets things adrift,
estranging the familiar, prompting
memory’s dislocations: spaces between
the here and now in which to gather
the swan killed on the bridge,
and the child on his blue tricycle
who pedalled into the Eden;
their memory surfacing this morning
as the kingfisher who rises glittering
through swansdown banks of vapour.
and all our road unravelling before us.