Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Short Season of Other Poets: Andrew Philip


Andrew Philip writes:
This set of three tankas arose out of a couple of days’ walking with a friend in the Netherlands during the summer before the Iraq war. The storm clouds were just visibly brewing at that point, and we were walking between towns with significant WWII history. The title is taken from the Dutch book my friend used to plan the walks. It translates as “Walking holidays close to home”.

WANDELVAKANTIES DICHT BIJ HUIS

                            i.
                     in sight

We stopped in our tracks—
someone flicked on the poppies,
squinted at us down
the length of dyke we trod, down
the long-barreled afternoon.

                          ii.
    bird life on the march to Arnhem

A stork fled the calm.
Perhaps it saw them coming,
those rains that caught us
marching the edge of the field
to the call Strengthen! Strengthen!

                          iii.
       it was on a day such as this

A wave of barley.
Poplars painted on thin air.
The light cracks like paint—
a twig beneath a jackboot—
a mind beneath the white lamp.


Andrew Philip was born in Aberdeen and grew up near Falkirk. He lived in Berlin for a short spell in the 1990s before studying linguistics at Edinburgh University. He has published two poetry pamphlets with HappenStance PressTonguefire (2005) and Andrew Philip: A Sampler (2008)— and was chosen as a Scottish Poetry Library “New Voice” in 2006. His first book of poems, The Ambulance Box, is just out from Salt.

2 comments:

Sorlil said...

Despite the subject matter there is a real lazy summer feel about the poem. I particularly like "the long-barreled afternoon" - lovely.

Angela France said...

I've been back to read this several times - it really works well for me and suggests a sense of impending, and inevitable, troubles.