Walleah Press         Famous Reporter 19 (Jun 1999)


      Peter Riley — two poems

Further Education

Ah, to be a full citizen of here, the nation
Of sheer being, the real that fits like a glove.
So where is the pass? I turned on Radio One
And an elderly man was speaking of a personal love
Which had sustained him through an entire life,
Moving a constant gratefulness between him and his wife.
I had to acknowledge my unworthiness of such emotion
And I asked why or how a resistance came upon us
Implanting a resentment when the tie is from above
And we can't speak so warmly as he. But trust
Also in a working fate we bear together, and when
The ward light blinks for one the other will gasp for certain.
And at variance become more richly equal and when
The pulse breaks for one the other will grasp for the curtain.

Poem Beginning With A Line By Nicholas Moore

Oh buzzing bee, art is a thing of love / as Love
Is a thing of art, they build each other. But who knows who
Is the contract salesman and who is the perfect lover?
"It is what the girl wears that makes her beautiful"
It is what she brings, cattle, solid gold rings, a promise
Consolidated over centuries, of which it is full
As the river is full of sky. Not the slightest threat
To the self is implied or taken/ Richly the promise is met
Richly the table is spread and the insects forced into retreat,
The pickers and snatchers rigorously excluded from a slow
Tableau where generosity is the defining percept of the other.
And this ring we carry on our bodies as we buzz round ever after
And the foul dry winds suck the pools and harden the skin but we try
To maintain our patent purpose. If there were only love it would die.

Peter Riley, (born 1940) is a contemporary English poet, essayist and editor, and the current poetry editor of the Fortnightly Review. (Laurie Duggan mentions Riley as one of a number of poets and supporters concerned with excavating the poetry of Nicholas Moore Peter Riley sought Nicholas Moore out in about 1982, finding him in the remote suburbs of south London, and they began work together on collecting and ordering his vast output of poetry, work which was cut short by Moore's death in 1986. Riley edited Moore's poems and published them as LACRIMAE RERUN: LAST POEMS from the Poetical Histories imprint).