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Robert Nye. . .



another poet I know little about. I saw this poem first on one of the many iterations of Bill Knott's blog. I don't think it's available anywhere on the 'nets, but I hope people read it here and go look up Nye's work, which, what little I've found of it, is remarkable. This poem appeared in the Times Literary Supplement, May 26th, 2006.

MATCHES (by Robert Nye)

Some matchsticks in a patch of melting tar
Held my attention for at least an hour
One afternoon when I was rising four.
Crouched in the shadow of some willow trees
I stared at them and saw the way love sees,
And all was close and clear and singular.

Three matchsticks in a black hot patch of tar,
One spent, one bent, one still a fusilier
Standing up proud and perpendicular
With fire in his head, my cavalier.
Well, I knelt by them on my naked knees,
Transfixed as always by simplicities.

I loved those lordlings of the molten square,
My puny masters stuck in hot black tar,
Though only now I’ve worked the reason out
(If love needs reasons, which of course I doubt):
We’re outcast in this world, and derelict,
Matches from nothing into nowhere flicked.

That is as depressing as any poem I've ever read, and those last four lines seem to me nearly perfect.When I first read it, I had my fingers in the flick position all day long.

The kids wondered about me.

Comments

  1. Thanks for introducing me to this superb and unusual poem. I was looking up Nye on Wiki - relating to his novels, in particular Falstaff - and read that he`d written poems and preferred to be thought of as a poet. One can see why.

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