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

Sam Sampson: Three poems:

The Ship Beautiful; Reel; Diagram

This piece is about 5 printed pages long.
It is copyright © Sam Sampson and Jacket magazine 2007.

The Ship Beautiful

           Reason of course, four corners
set in perfect unison.

                                    The headland falling away bracing its fictive presence
            a crystal spill opening this salted source

                                               a cry: is the abyss white on a slack tide?

                                   neither here nor there: markers guide mindfulness
            glide towards the horizon, their pinpoint sense of depth...

                                   quixotic : exact : erased...transparent points, if nothing else.


Reset default settings: correction,
           can’t I reshape the untouchable?

                                  yearly collusions: the only way not so long...

           where I float back slow
                       rips suspend the island, a vacant blue sky

                                   turns certain stars on

highlights: an import of observational heaven

            close to shore, milky-like
                       slack motion links visible sounds

                                                                                 part balanced
                                              a perpetual theme: being here then somewhere...

                       tides allow bits to float
the most important factor depth

                                                           to be deep down we feel more delirious
                                     years spill their indented scent
                                                 salt mitigates guidelines       several languages

                                                             laugh the distant gulf; conversations

                          grow fragments...fracture...they end-up, and resurface
                                                 a strange confidence greeting all that gathered.


         (Lines for, and from Samuel Beckett: Centenary 1906-2006)

                                                            Any length all white

                         light creeps lengthwise, nacreous: no mistake, never talking
                                                           old habit of walking non-stop for miles out to the end


                                                                                    buffeted by a winter storm

                                                 no sound in the third person, at full stretch dark humour
                                     no sound exits a corner where

shadowless, head high conducted back through eyes

                                                            eyes burn ashen blue and lashes grab
                        one lightning wince per minute: blink... on earth...


                                                heaven says, no sound, no way in, none out

            tightly initialised; imagine other murmurs

                                   all clear, all six planes, all tears
                        when shining, whereas unheard in dark this is a well-known thing

                                                at last a slow ebb, ten seconds through a thousand
                                                                                   darkening greys, till out and confident

                                    what world could do without resonance
                                                            the way lay wrestle of articulate fracture


                       if spirits low no sound, see how the light dies down
            images squeeze again in between tips and palm,

that tiny chink

                        full glare all this time, say like red no grey, say like everything shellacked
                                                so arrive through no true image on earth attached to this

                                    bottle of scent, like that
                                                here alone so little by little all pre-arranged


                                     no sound

for tremor of sorrow
            a faint memory of lying side-by-side

                                    murmured        only the voice and bones remain,
                        then only voice (not to be confused with the leaden churn of hurdy-gurdy

            words) in the heart again wrestling the unalterable note
                                   sounded earlier, the piece remarkable only under breath


                                                           breathe the wet of conception

            a dead-end road

                       for the moment at least the spot fixes
                                  of greater circumference than the sun itself

            chanting in the late evening
the future is a sordid trance

                                    walking more and more towards total emptiness

                       language itself crumbles to nothing,
                                               written only as an engagingly simple sign.

Sam Sampson

Sam Sampson lives in Auckland, New Zealand. His works of poetry include: The Deep End (with artist Peter Madden, 2006), and two chapbooks: Encompassed (2003), and Gauguin's Poiësis (1999). Poems have appeared in literary magazines, such as Landfall, Stand, Slope, Poetry Review, Salt, and Shearsman Magazine. His first full-length collection of poems will be published in 2008, through Auckland University Press (NZ) and Shearsman Books (UK).

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