Louisa Oriel, 1960-2000
A collection of thirteen of Neil's poems are being published in 2018 by Carcanet Press, one of the outstanding literary publishers of today. Based in Manchester in the UK, Carcanet is famous for its "New Poetries" series of anthologies, that have appeared every few years since 1994. New Poetries VII will be published in late April this year.
Carcanet's blog post on Neil's work and a sound recording of Neil reading one of his poems can be found here.
Neil's work has also been published in UK poetry magazine The Rialto, and has been shortlisted for the Bridport Poetry Prize.
The poem shown here, Louisa Oriel 1960-2000 was the winner of the Kent & Sussex International Poetry Competition in 2005.
I am, or have been recently, considering the gap between
What we intend and what we mostly reach,
Between the gunwale and the unlit pier,
Between the rifle and the deer.
There are furlongs of light in this wood, all green,
All striking for the afternoon's dark heart, and each
A promise of destination, which at most
Turns out to be an end of trees, and a white post.
Distance acknowledged is invisible, like the air
Assumed by swallows between here and Spain,
Only in storm light apprehended:
Only what's broken can be mended.
Everything, I thought, was built this way, and there
You came, not subject to the laws of rain,
(Do you get wetter if you run,
Or if you walk?) steepled in sun.
It took me time to learn these other rules – your rules,
Where reaching for and reaching are the same,
Where understanding is identical to sight,
Rainfall and dewfall, incidents of light.
It seems you never were aboard this train of fools,
Expecting to know their station, and yet not its name,
While I imagine you already at home, at ease,
In a white house, on a small hill, set about with cedar trees.
Copyright (c) Neil Fleming, 2000