Desmond Graham’s third publication from the Villa Vic Press, Newcastle, available in Limited and Special Editions, ‘Unaccompanied’, brings together poems on kindred spirits, other writers, acquaintances and friends whose presence has nourished his work. These little tales of the unexpected reveal how the imagination finds creative impetus from absence as much as presence, from coincidence as much as good fortune, and from its ability to adapt creatively, the vagaries of chance. The great Polish poet Zbigniew Herbert, Rainer Maria Rilke, Geoffrey Hill and Tony Harrison; the invisible yet famous editor Catharine Carver; Osip Mandelstam and Walter Benjamin all are given roles, however fleeting, but never silent.

Launched in Germany in 2014, poems from the collection are also available in Polish translation in Graham’s ‘Nowe wierze’ (Gdańsk 2014). The Villa Vic publication is available now and will be launched in the UK in 2015.

There are those minds

which have a beauty of movement

a fascination of choice

of direction –

they are not seductive

they do not tempt us to fall

for them – they are not like

someone whose every word

and gesture we would catch and follow

as a child in infatuation –

it is not a charm or even a charisma

though it could be closer to an angelic form

of that – it is certainly not like

the known and unknown scents

which through memory mostly

captivate us – and not like

a person always completing

our wishes by settling beside us

without even talking

these minds – Montaigne has it

and Benjamin and in music

it is perhaps most there in Haydn –

you will know

your own examples –

these minds

in the nature of themselves

and so very different

have a movement

not as a clock has movement

but a creature –

a movement you find

new and familiar

like being at home

not your real being at home

but what ‘being at home’

would be like

if you found it

it is like finding

even without working anything out

that you have been moving with them

as a fish would know

from the first time

it is in a shoal –

a bird

in a flock

a little flock perhaps

like a goldfinch

with its flutter and

looping glide

a few others beside it –

as of course in a play

of Shakespeare’s well done

we may live like a starling

in a long twilight

swirling and changing in shapes

and undefined patterns right

through the story –

but this can be no more

or less than a mouse

thinking it is alone

coming out and finding

another mouse there too –

creatures of a kind –

growing up elephant

to find you are elephant

growing up person

to find you are person

in the flow of syntax

the word in its place

the twist and surprise and endless pleasing

of moving through the sentence

the whole page

the chapter the book

and knowing

without so much as a pause or question

we too are here right now

in our own time

and welcome

Recording: from Unaccompanied