From the oratory window I witness
mid-air doom, a slew of concentric
swirls, a trail of forge-sparks,
and that’s it. A vermilion two-seater
stagger-wing loops earthbound,
so much depending upon centrifugal
drive. Slivers of toughened glass
spangle the outer stone sill,
the vacant co-pilot seat
is plummeted deep in rosebed mulch.
I question now if the red bi-plane
ever was, the way sureties tilt
and untangle from any one freezeframe
to its sequel. Maybe I was glimpsing
that two-seater red pedal car
– injection-moulded plastic –
collected one Christmas Eve night
for a fevered child? Or conflating
the replica cherry-red sixty-three
we’d toyed with, tinkered with, briefly
on a tinsmith’s covered stall
that drenched Saturday?
What can’t be
cast in any doubt is the wreckage,
a fragmentary scattering,
the mangledness on the far side
of glass. And how a Galway blue
skyscape proves ineluctably
the exponential function of tangents.
by Anne-Marie Fyfe
Irish literature expert (and former Director of the Poetry Centre) Dr Eóin Flannery, and Dr Donal Lowry, who has published widely on Irish foreign policy, are leading a one-day short course on Saturday 14 May at Oxford Brookes: ‘One Hundred Years On: 1916–2016. The Easter Rising: its History and Literature, Then and Now’. All are welcome. For more details, visit the Brookes website.
Don’t miss Modern Poetry in Translation‘s 50th anniversary study day in Oxford on 14 May. A really spectacular programme is on offer with writers and translators like Patrick McGuinness, Karen Leeder, David Constantine, Jamie McKendrick and Sasha Dugdale. There will be another translation day in Cambridge on 30 April.
‘The Red Aeroplane’ is copyright © Anne-Marie Fyfe, 2015. It is reprinted from House of Small Absences (Seren, 2015) by permission of Seren Books.House of Small Absencesfollows Fyfe’s popularUnderstudies: New and SelectedPoems. Her new collection serves as an observation window into strange, unsettling spaces—a deserted stage-set, our own personalised ‘museum’, a Piedmontalbergo,underground cities, Midtown roof-gardens, convent orchards, houseboats, a foldaway circus, a Romanian sleeper-carriage—the familiar rendered uncanny through the distorting lenses of distance and life’s exigencies, its inevitable lettings-go. Youcan read more about the book on theSeren website, and more about Anne-Marie’s work and forthcoming appearances onher own site. Anne-Marie is alsoon Twitter.
Anne-Marie Fyfe, poet, creative-writing teacher, arts-organiser of the Troubadour Coffee House poetry events and former Chair of the Poetry Society, (2006-2009), was born in Cushendall in the Glens of Antrim and now lives in West London. She has read and performed her work worldwide.
Seren is an independent publisher based in Wales. Founded in 1981 to publish poetry discovered by the then-editor of Poetry Wales magazine, Cary Archard. Under Managing Editor Mick Felton the press now publishes a broad range of fiction, non-fiction, and criticism. Amy Wack has been Poetry Editor at Seren for over 20 years. During that time, poets published by Seren have won or been shortlisted for the Costa, Forward, T.S. Eliot and Aldeburgh Prizes. You can find out more about Seren on the publisher’s website.
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