Friday, 22 April 2016

Robert Nye: Two poems

Stoat

As I walked home a stoat ran round
About me with a womanish sound
On feet that barely touched the ground.

Her eyes so used to rat and hare
Fixed mine in a moon-blinded stare
Until I saw you everywhere:
Your dress that drift of smothering snow,
Your face her face, your step her slow
And rampant dancing,
In and out, on tiptoe prancing,
Until I felt my hot flesh stir
Between my legs, and not for her,
Nor yet for you, but standing still
On whited ground, against my will,
I felt my heart leap to my throat
And cry out for the dancing stoat.

Riposte

Above all other nights that night be blessed
On which my grandam rose from her sweet rest
Woke by a nightingale whose passionate song
Rang in the moonlight, Keatsian and long.
My grandmother threw open wide her door
And listened for a minute, not much more;
Then, when sufficient nightingale she'd heard,
Cried out: Right! Just you bugger off, you bird!


Robert Nye (b. 1939) is a very individual and very serious poet - both these poems, not just the first, are intensely serious. If the first could be explained simply in terms of sexuality it wouldn't be quite the poem it is.