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   Jacket 33 — July 2007        link Jacket 33 Contents page        link Jacket Homepage

Kelvin Corcoran

Three poems from

‘Ulysses in the Car’

Each green field my god the waves of grass
flooding over the hills break your heart
to the first of the houses we’re all awash
and you came in like the genius of the rolling tide.

The telephone wires radiate from the pole
holding the sky aloft a thousand messages of
are you there can I speak the weather here is
the accident of us falling together into.

The conspiracy of your shape, your colour
touch me the substance of you I want to
have eat and fuck in that gold jacket
silk with the little clear buttons like rain.

There’s a name for the work on the big loom
you tell me as you walk on this side in the shining air.


Melanie, I’m in the dark car staring, where are you?
and the keys? The sky unlocked pours lament
along the cold slot where I wait at the foaming gutter;
enough of this place, the great divide is real.

The house is full of darkness, the wine we poured
unfit for breathing or the brimming crowd;
my mother transparent before me could not stand
without my help, now rises in that company.

Melanie where are you? Are you driving home
between the low warehouses and shamefaced politics
plotted across our country? Are you cutting a smart V?

I see your face suspended in the great, dark rush,
faint interior lights daisy below your gaze, ignite
the bright metallic splash as you open the door.


Eroding even the walls of Neriton
the subterranean fresh water stream
rises in the harbour or further out;
I dreamt I swam into its frozen heart.

How strange it looks to wake up on this beach
without speaking the word for stranger;
it’s because I am thinking of you in that house,
wearing the dress with the splash of red roses.

I’m thinking what it is to sleep with you,
of the delight that settles on me in your shape,
and how I taste the first language in my mouth
articulate in my hands in which you move.

Until morning light rolls out into the gulf
and the backward turning sea beats time.

Kelvin Corcoran

Kelvin Corcoran

Kelvin Corcoran’s work came to prominence with his first book Robin Hood in the Dark Ages in 1985. Eight subsequent collections have been enthusiastically received and his work has been anthologised in Britain and the USA. His New and Selected Poems is now available from Shearsman Books. The sequence Helen Mania was made a Poetry Book Society in the UK choice in 2005. His latest book, Roger Hilton’s Sugar, is a lyrical response to the remarkable work of the painter’s final years.