David Royle
Two Poems
Ahead of his 2001 exhibition at the PM Gallery in London David Royle invited the distinguished contemporary poets Lavinia Greenlaw and Chris Greenhalgh to see his work in the studio. These two poems were the results of their individual encounters with the work and were included in the catalogue for the exhibition. They are reproduced here by the kind permission of the authors  
High Summer Weir

Still the day is its own machine and still
you will not speak of it, raise or let fall
a drowning face, hands catch at what drifts past
to weigh on your chest like a prayer against

living, a door to keep yourself outside
despite being up to your neck, your eyes,
in the wreckage of that long high summer.
There has been nothing better or after.

What’s left is broken pattern and colour
snarled up on the edge but not gone over,
because of what boiled up, alive enough

to take heart from, to land on and draw breath.
Admit, now, what does not pass and move on
while we are still here, under the sun.


© Lavinia Greenlaw 2000
opposite left:  High Summer Weir, 1998
Haunting the Ordinary

A man in a green chair
peels a tangerine.

Fronds explode into space.
The gloria  of a sunset:

an imagined heaven
touched with gold.

A pleated weir spills its ribbons,
distilling into the silver square

of a television.
White noise. Interference.

Ghostly as a climber’s shadow
thrown onto a cloud.


© Chris Greenhalgh 2000
opposite right: Inside on a Wild Night, 2000