New Writing: Two Poems By Rob Yates

The Tung is pleased to continue its relationship with poet Rob Yates by showcasing two new poems.

Ideas for away

 Proximity of death away from home

            leading to excitement.

Ideals of community

            witnessed in a Ghanaian boarding school.

Conversations about grand projects – vague heads.

The growth of home’s symbolic potential

            away from home.

The Lyre bird – the link to a bird lying.

Being away from home. There, dissecting

            binary imaginative systems.

The dual purposes of literature:

            a building of illusion

            and its clearing.

Ex-pats forgotten by their own, only homes.

            Working out if this is tragic or not.

People approaching death being self-obsessed.

            Takoradi market. Beyin stilt village.

Idea of home being where you needed

            to be. Image of monkey tied to post –

find another thing.

The wonder of choirs and cathedrals

            before satellite navigation.

That tale from Hojoki; families shipped

            downriver, Old Kyoto to Osaka Bay,

            dismantling of homes, them floating on

            the Yodo, houses on a huge stream.

Strange elements of Africa back home,

            savannah in the aisles, a Gugaku

            performance and the depression

            of homecoming, the abstinence.

The traces a new bulb leaves in your eye.

John Muir’s quote about being

            ‘a transparent tabernacle’

tabernacle – ‘mishkan’ – a ‘dwelling place’

            or ‘residence’.

Kleinzahler calls them ‘deracinated orphans’

            or sorry ghosts. I can’t remember them.

Believes his parents owe him listening.

Internal still, rushing exterior

            of youth.

Draining a Tuscan reservoir reveals

            an old village beneath, blubbering mud,

            how frightening would swimming be?

Travel as an extension of childhood.

Sorrow as a mark of true goodness.

            Not the powdered stuff.

Doubtful Sound,

            an ancient Maori goddess placed sandflies

            to keep men out.

Memory of children being unable to sleep.

            Forever needs more work.

-- -- -- 

Travelling notes

Yes, going up into the great

hull quiet of the world I hung

there stinging, leaving no dull mark.

Was galloping? Was altitude? Was poetry?

            What is there back home? Gutters and thunk, less

            movement than the straits, more friends.

But God, ‘twas sad and necessary!

I was leaving and afeard.

            Utter bliss was it

            in that dawn

            to be a something.

One thinks later:

‘we’ll be nothing soon’ –

            a settling, the grand diminish, blunt yarns.

-- -- -- 

Rob Yates is currently based in London following a two year stint abroad in Indonesia and New Zealand. He is working through a third draft of a second novel and has had poetry and fiction appear in Bodega, Agenda, Envoi and other magazines.