By Don Paterson
Don Paterson occasionally punches right through our guard. He did it with Two Trees (click here) and he’s done it again in this week’s New Yorker.
I’d moved across the open water/like a frictionless wheel under its skin […], I’d drain into the shale till I was filtered pure, and the scattered sails,/the painted front and children on the pier all lull us into imagining a sunny poem, until the final line fells us.
We don’t even know if a tsunami, mass murderer, or something else hit us.
For months I’d moved across the open water
like a wheel under its skin, a frictionless
and by then almost wholly abstract matter
with nothing in my head beyond the bliss
of my own breaking: how the long foreshore
would hear my full confession, and I’d drain
into the shale till I was filtered pure.
There was no way to tell on that bare plain
but I felt my power run down with the miles
and by the time I saw the scattered sails,
the painted front and children on the pier
I was no more than a fold in her blue gown
and knew I was already in the clear.
I hit the beach and swept away the town.