Richard Gwyn is not the only poet to use the prose-poem form to good effect; poets such as Nin Andrews and Stephen Berg spring to mind. But Gwyn has made this style second-nature. He has worked this form into nail-biting ordinariness. His realties often have a dreamlike substrata. In ‘The Days’, a hunchback and an octogenarian brighten up the milieu but their presence leaves a jarring impression on the days and silences which wouldn’t otherwise have had a name. The seagull alone may have been interruption enough, but Gwyn takes us further. And even as the poem gets quieter, more of a nature poem, more of a meditation on truth, Gwyn keeps pace with the orchestra which sings us every sentence. The senses are all put to use here, even as the day awakens slowly.
Carl Griffin, Poetry Editor.
The days are beginning to fold into one another, a slow-motion wing-beat on repeat. All those nights spent trying to sleep in railway station waiting rooms, a desperate collusion of rust, memory, a thousand miseries. Seagulls scratch at the window, their coarse sounds intended to lure you out. You drink tea and recall that you are bound by this anecdotal life, this song and dance, this merry lark. Outside there is a hunchback on the lookout for jailbait, or else an elegant octogenarian who smiles favourably, holding out an enormous fish. Normally trees grow near such places, though by no means always larches. They presage a kind of flow between nature’s routines and the need for perpetual resurgence. An ancient chestnut, its roots ploughing through the soil like subterranean antennae towards the house and its foundations, eventually burrows beneath the building’s skin. The tree and the house enter a symbiotic relationship, something like love, though it is the tree that has made the first move. In parallel fashion, two pencils lie across a yellow notebook on your desk. If you follow the direction of their points southeast for two thousand miles you will find the house and the tree: an exercise in style for someone desperate to believe in symmetries. Outside, you can sense the movement in the street without hearing anything or even looking. The day begins, as always, with a slow intrusion of medicated light, rustling sounds behind a curtain, the opening of a door, or a book.