Peter Pegnall

Peter has brought out four volumes of poetry, three of which I know but the missing one, he tells me, is the best.  Nevertheless,what I have is pure Pegnall.  All volumes availabe from Amazon.  Poems below through Lapwing Publications.  For further essays and articles start with the Telegraph.


Uncle Billy

Polished his shoes underneath. Wore braces,
went so far as to say:
"Yes, I will have another tart, please, Edie".
Wore a homburg. We boys made faces:

this was unfair in the light of the Bournville bar
with a sellotaped red, ten shilling note,
which arrived each Boxing Day, as did Billy.
In younger days, he'd travelled far

on a motorbike.  Before that to the Somme,
where he did as he was told, kept a straight bat.
He loved my grandma Edie: she married Charlie instead.
Billy lived in Acton Town. In a flat.

Foul Papers, 2005




Samphire Gatherers

It's a house without windows. As if, running
through glue or shifting pebbles you sag and there's
nowhere else to go but trudge trudge so bravely
so aimlessly.  And then, moments before you wake
from corridors of puzzled faces a glimpse -
clear sky and an open heart and soaring wings;
the weight clams down and you may as well not move
and you move through lead or woollen clouds pressing
closer than your own breath.
            You may as well march like a circus clown,
head held high for the next laugh.  Or in my case,
a walk up and down, lamenting the pain
people don't, apparently, begin to feel,
their hurrying greedy unsatisfied eyes -
I'm sure they'd be grateful for my concern;
for these scornful unbelieving prayers -
like a stone mason, I carve my own face
in living gargoyles, become who I see.
            Harder than this, someone loves you and touches
soft where you like and her gaze speaks softer
and her love's the only language you know
and you can't answer even though you hear quite clearly
and it breaks her heart and it breaks your heart
and you button up for another long swim,
as if you could fool either of you,
as if the song of self-hatred rang
like a glitter of new minted coins
or a baby's first cry in cradling arms.
             And then there's the craggy coastline where Edgar
clutched his father's life although the surge sucked
him downward, although he knew it was all up;
and it was all up, but for gratitude -
"You loved me after all.  The world is possible."

Broken Eggs, 1995




Poems suggested by phrases from Scott Fitzgerald's 'Tender is the Night'

A Scherzo of Colour

Bougainvillea against a plaster wail,
pink lips parted in desire;
a pool of blood in the doorway.

Lap it all up.

If you prefer black and white,
            a touch of evil -
fly a dark kite
            hieroglyph of agony.

Season of Missed Chances, 2009






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