Martin TURNER

Rookie (February 9th 1948 / London, Westminster SW1)

Atlantic Memoir - Poem by Martin TURNER

Night comes and the clenching of teeth.
Gone the ricercare of the birds.
A baroque sky of shell and pearl
gives way to one of dark silk.

Do you remember the man in the brown suit,
sipping his coffee in a shop by the front,
wandering with seven faces in the century’s mirrors,
now fêted in the bars along the sea?

In his verses the sea breathed,
the sea of the sweeping sleeve,
the sea sipping at the land,
the sea washing as an afterthought.

Inscrutable as a cat with the tail of a mouse
still hanging at the corner of its mouth,
he made known the little charades of home,
each smoking ancient grudge.

Among loud minds he walked like a blind person
while the moon muddied her tides with rage.
When he spoke it snowed in our bones.
We were exiles lost in the sky.

Our distant talk was a dull concussion of blunders.
Finally we succumbed to the canons of dull health.
How the gods of wood and stream
suffer from being known.

We were little clots under the stars,
our faces agog with the sun’s last glow.
We sat over backgammon while he braved the void,
his face pitted with meteor thoughts.

In his verses the sea breathed,
sea lapping the spit in little seething rushes,
hesitant, followed by digressions,
lapsing in an immense, perjured stillness.

Sirens fill the electric night.
Dawn clings to the air like silk.
We talk to each other through our books.
And in the morning the city is still there.


Comments about Atlantic Memoir by Martin TURNER

  • (6/14/2009 11:51:00 AM)


    Atmospheric stanzas brushed lovingly across the page creating visual scenes. The language is rich and beautiful. This was my favorite stanza:

    We were little clots under the stars,
    our faces agog with the sun’s last glow.
    We sat over backgammon while he braved the void,
    his face pitted with meteor thoughts.

    Fantastic imagery used here. I do believe I've found another wonderful poet here. I certainly have found a wonderful poem. I plan on reading more of your work. Fantastic. Ashley
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  • (6/14/2009 7:09:00 AM)


    I'm with the undernamed who point out that this one opens up with further reads. I wondered about the first verse but was convinced and awed by the remainder on the first turn through. On the second I struggled to understand why I had doubts about that first stanza. There are many stunning lines in this Martin, where the profundity of observation is perfectly matched by the imagery. But the strength of so many individual lines doesn't in the least undermine the coherence of the whole. I was reminded of Conrad's power to transport the reader directly into the scene. (Report) Reply

  • (4/2/2007 11:29:00 AM)


    A delicious feast of sumptuous language. A pleasure to read and reread. (Report) Reply

  • (4/14/2006 7:49:00 PM)


    Extraordinarily luscious delineation from the capa to the coda. The four lines Wendy pointed out, are the poem's finest in my estimation too. I also thought 'his face pitted with meteor thoughts' and 'lapsing in an immense, perjured still' were rather spot on. This is the genuine article, Martin and I look ahead to enjoying more of your renderings.

    Kindest regards, Greg.
    (Report) Reply

  • Tan Pratonix (2/9/2006 5:07:00 AM)


    I have read this again, and it grows richer with each reading. I agree with Anne Leaver. (Report) Reply

  • Tan Pratonix (1/31/2006 11:33:00 PM)


    Atlantic Memoir is a great piece, worthy of the Faber Book of Modern Verse. Delightful reading. To be read again and again. I have to read all your poems very carefully and savour each stanza. (Report) Reply

  • (8/7/2005 6:32:00 AM)


    Martin
    The test of time makes a poem for me, and this one gets better every time I read it.
    Anne
    (Report) Reply

  • (6/1/2005 6:51:00 PM)


    We talk to each other through our books.
    And in the morning the city is still there.

    I misread: We walk to each other through our books -hmmm--
    Well, this hurls that horrid realization of existence into our sense of the magical. I love it and hate it! Anne
    (Report) Reply

  • Frances Macaulay Forde (11/24/2004 9:30:00 AM)


    Excellent, atmospheric, evocative piece Martin. But I notice you put the title into the text space when you are loading your poems.... (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: sea, cat, city, sky, remember, moon, lost, home, dark, night, sun, shopping, mirror, star



Poem Submitted: Sunday, September 26, 2004

Poem Edited: Monday, April 5, 2010


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