Giles Watson was born in Southampton, but emigrated to Australia with his parents at the age of one, and lived there for the next twenty-five years. In addition to poetry and painting, he writes essays on natural history and mediaeval visual culture, is an avid walker, photographer and amateur naturalist, and has a keen interest in theatre. His academic work has included a doctoral thesis on religion and culture in England during the Second World War. As a secondary school teacher, he has taught English, History, Drama, Sociology and Film. Much of his work is infused with his own idiosyncratic spirituality: awed by nature, steeped in history, and inspired by a quiet sense of the ... more »
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Giles Watson Poems
'Forget me not, ' I thought you said, and your gaze was straight and true. I wondered, by your garden's edge, could I disremember you?
Last winter, incendiaries ignited A bloom of flame in your bedroom, And the gramophone gouged Through ‘Lili Marlene’ one last time
The Butcher's Wife
Sometimes the flayed things have spirits. When my husband is drunk in bed, I go down to the cellar to find them, their stripped
Leaning over a stone bridge, knowing Daubenton’s bats slept beneath me, wrapped in leather, pollard willows, white clouds
A Kind of Bright Darkness
There is a stile still standing in the ghost of a hedge, and a broken gate beside it, opening on the pathless nowhere of a ploughed field.
Is the moment of sunsplashed brilliance, the walking-in by chance at the time of greatest need. The blessing is swallows alive from Africa, cavorting in English sky.
1. Morrigan There's a way of ripping Roman flesh that only ravens can do. You take
Beating the bounds of the parish, I saw The old gods on the outskirts, skulking in the woods. It was all moonbreak and sunglow. Woodwales jittered.
Pearl: A Translation
1. Perfect Pearl – prince pleaser – Clear and clasped in precious gold:
I could only speak in the sweet ironies of repetition, So when he said, “Do not touch me, ” I replied: “Touch me, touch me, touch me, touch me, ” and After a while again, “touch me”, till he turned
Black and haloed, my spiller of gold, Stark and hallowed as a gilded ghost, Raptured rhymer of the honeyed throat, Pert proclaimer of embodied thought,
Weed-flesh, wind-wracked, unbleeding Clumped and kicked along the strand. The stench and slickness of it; Holdfasts clench like claws.
I’ll bear with death as a going to ground A bunkering-down, an embracing of loam, My skull in the yew’s root. Weeds on my mound Are heralds bringing a prodigal home.
Inside the resealed jar, Hope turned quiescent in darkness, folded her butterfly-wings above her back, hid her
Comments about Giles Watson
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892)
'Forget me not, ' I thought you said,
and your gaze was straight and true.
I wondered, by your garden's edge,
could I disremember you?
The light refracted at your heart:
a warmth that radiated through.
'No, I dare not let them fade:
those powdered hues of pink and blue.'
'Forget me not, ' I hoped you said
as the summer bleached to white:
it was the hope that startled me,
like a swallow, into flight.
'Forget me not': I know it's true,
little flower of grace and light.
The time must come, whate'er I do
when I remember in the ...