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Cambridge Market Place Calls to Action.



And two more new poems.


Cambridge Market Place Calls to Action.

A YOUNG GUITARIST has come along like
Clockwork, busked his way maybe maybe not
All along the way from Asia I would say
And hit the designated spot to tell me

the answer is blowin’ in the wind again — although
I’ve never asked the question. It is a hunch
In the hunkered figuring of all the
Faraway faces, the restaurant worker

Luxuriates in the tenminute space
And the light grace of his lone fag. So they
Are in every face I meet I think and
The hens shower the gutter, silken sashes

Read as banns hotpink on drabgray rainwashed
As streets invariably are in verse.
We negotiate white vans and armies
Of the night when they come all shades of gray

Available in Now, where the girls dye
Their hair to wear impeccably and make
A toy of age, play with it, roll with it,
Rock up to it, wave and depart. This shade

Is Lurking Imber she suggests, the city
Is a constant she is saying and all
The voices come all of them all at once
And you lose count of possibility,

Which is what it is all about, out there
And on the hunt for Time Well Spent to be a
One Man Wish Fulfilment Centre, Agent,
Advocate, Stakeholder, call me Genie, some kind of,

Self-executor, that’s all they ask. Cityshape
And feel all shade and sun, how unfucked up
It’s likely to become is the answer,
My friend, we hope and hope, and we have overcome.

The Gift

For Anna

WE TOO LEAN forward… launched and cast adrift
on the great flaw that gives the final gift
— Robert Lowell

What is it as we age? you ask, I guess
It is this thing with me, I know I could
Give anything at any hour as asked
Of every day, that is the trick. The all

Is that you’re asked for something, tender not
From need but of necessity, from earth,
From roads, this place, our place for want of it
Demands soundless delight, the life, the it

Of what is asked artless, artful, and some
Thing in between. The challenge is to meet,
Touch difficulty and arrive in the
Same place. Since the day I met you all else

Has been approximate, fragility
And force, the more you are yourself the more
My love, accepting of another’s grace,
We travel lone to be in the same space.

James Coppinger

(after Alan Ross)

OUR GRACE OF red and white across the green
A patch of canvas grass the sweep of light
Blades of colour unfolding in the
Game’s swirl the green again, again the
Riddle solved and solved again unsolved
We go again the very nature of the game
The breaking of the light always the sum
Of possibilities in the game’s set and re-set
A dart of colour here a dab the sway
Of grass against the grey crowds lines crossed in play
And out, the games, the weeks, the years ticked off.

At Brentford, Rovers green your camouflage
The darkness of the pitch the stadium shade
In blazing light the revolution near
The ball turned, your flight, and the stadium swayed
Your way, our way, some history was made
Casual, determined, unstoppable
Apotheosis, metamorphosis,
The magic puff and reappear years later
In our kit of smoke and coal, coal-black
The blues away each shade to navy, grey
Changing with the season, always there.

The first time, crossing the line was in black
And white. Magpie James to James’ to James, the
Roads you’ve travelled to be with us here with
Top flight thought past, mirror of motorway
Moor and memory, the sash in your kit’s blaze/
Temporary inhabitation the
Crossing and uncrossing of that line time
Over time, and on your golden day all
Was still and possible, the drifted kick
The trill and billow of the net the voice
They all await, you interject, fresh art
And artifice at home to Gillingham

One down – no matador draw Veronica
Cape-shouldered, hanging off, trawling their lines,
Shroud of invisibility, an old
Man’s game pitch evergreen, the kids around
The world, their nutmeg and their rainbow, step-
Over, the lingering out there, you play
You know, the nearly… nearly… make to play
The ball in urgency, but feint and space –
More than you need to glide a ball’s delight –
Sadlier shivers the net defenders all too late
For the state of emergency your feet

Declared. Your art now, economy, still you inject
A pang of pace but where the eye first probes
And measures, the looking-to-see-and-not-
be-seen, man-in-the-street by-passed pure craft
Unknown as unsung folk, and the quiet
Vigilance, our green-borne ship, our holder
Of the field, of heart, of mind, our champion,
James Coppinger, spirits to enforce, our
Prosper, art to enchant, our chant both
On and off the pitch, you cross and cross the
Line again, and, then, no more. Today, our
Absence, your curtain, our thanks, unspoken love.

Andy Thompson has spent his career working in sixth-form education and for the last decade has run his own educational consultancy based in Oxford. Andy read English Literature at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, and, as a guest speaker on the University of Oxford’s outreach programme, has lectured on a wide range of topics in literature.

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