Laurie Duggan: 6 poems

  Laurie Duggan

  Six Afterimages

  (six poems)
  Peter Lanyon

those quadrilaterals,
hedges, a landing strip
seen through cross-hairs

that line, a strut or cliff edge
a sudden dip or buffet
a broad slash of blue

landscape, suggested once by a Claude glass
might be just this… this… this,
like ornithology: ‘for the birds’


  Frank Auerbach

down Primrose Hill
two lights, feeble in middle ground,
hemmed in by shrubbery

orange visibility vests on a lime coloured oval
a street wet behind glass
pedestrians lit by the glow of phones

the open cigarette packet on the pub table
is a strategy, pencil backwards
on the interlocutor’s ear

dusty window panes
haloed by sunlight
bright squares on a bar floor


  Alexander Calder

ballet shoes point upward
a slight figure, lifted

by a thickset one
the weight of both

an absence, suggested
by continuous line

so the testes become a leg
an elbow becomes a signature

the space enclosed

across the aisle
Josephine Baker

dances, her shadow
lifeless on the wall


  Gustave Courbet

The cliffs of Ornans appear
as they do through the gallery window,

the local characters enlarged, a bourgeois presumption
to be bigger than Napoleon (a short man),

to inhabit a large canvas, as though
worthy of the academy.

What made him present himself, greeted on the road
by another figure (engaged perhaps

in mere commerce?) offer instead of an epithet
a commonplace?


  Jacopo Bassano

Light breaks (or fades) over a distant mountain
but the figures in the foreground are too intent

to notice, animals martialled up a ramp in pairs,
eggs collected in a basket. The humans

bundle possessions, sort copper pans, have
no time to view even the rising water.

To the left a monkey holds what looks like
a sceptre – has all sense deserted these people

alive in the cramped space of a jigsaw? All questions
seem to have an answer in this world

but where is the cat’s companion?


  Basil King

The face could be
lunar, its craters

the glint of an eye,
bend sinister of the mouth;

half is in eclipse,
an orange shadow,

the other half glances out
at invisible events,

history maybe, or
just a present

occurring somewhere
behind you;

a glow, or
halo surrounds it


      Laurie Duggan, North Lincolnshire, 2016, photo by Paul Rossiter.
Laurie Duggan, North Lincolnshire, 2016, photo by Paul Rossiter.

Laurie Duggan, b. Melbourne 1949, later a resident of Sydney and Brisbane, moved from Australia to Faversham, Kent, in 2006. His most recent books are Allotments (Bristol, Shearsman, 2014) and a reissue of his first two books as East and Under the Weather (Sydney, Puncher & Wattman, 2014).


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