introducing readers to writers since 1995

April 16, 2005

"Archaic Torso of Apollo (after Rilke)," Don Paterson

by Ron Hogan
You'll never know that terrific head,
or feel those eyeballs ripen on you--
yet something here keeps you in view,
as if his look had sunk inside

and still blazed on. Or the double axe
of the breast couldn't blind you, nor that grin
flash along the crease fo the loins
down to the low centre of his sex.

Or else he'd sit, headless and halved,
his shoulders falling to thin air--
not shiver like the pelt of a wolf

or burst from his angles like a star:
for there is nowhere to hide, nothing here
that does not see you. Now change your life.

From Landing Light.

Last fall, I saw Don Paterson at a reading for the anthology New British Poetry, which he co-edited. Other poems from the collection found online include "The Box," which has a video clip of him reading the verse aloud, and "The Rat."

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