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Daytime Astronomy

Paul Grattan

ISBN: 978-1-907056-76-5

Page Count: 80

Publication Date: Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Cover Artwork: Untitled’, Oil on board, 27in x 22in by Cormac Healy –

About this Book

Eight years in the making, the poems in Daytime Astronomy were, like the rest of us, born in the heart of a dying star, with gibbous Venus in full frame; traversing the middle latitudes – Ards, Belfast, Dublin, Glasgow, Moscow, Phnom Penh, Piter, Shanghai, Sochi, & all the liminal spaces in between – for a luminous primary, such as an abandoned lover, library, prison camp, shard of pottery, sea bird or local bar, the personal equation of time with place, birth, deaths, a hill to climb to catch the world home, to paint the body & the body’s pain; a recessional for the last decade.

Author Biography

Paul Grattan was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1971.  He moved to the North of Ireland in 1995, and gained an MA in Creative Writing at the Poets’ House/Lancaster University; studying under the late James Simmons. In 2002 The Edinburgh Review published his first collection, The End of Napoleon’s Nose.  His work has appeared in several anthologies including: The New Irish Poets, ed. Selina Guinness (Bloodaxe 2004); Magnetic North, ed. John Brown (Lagan Press 2006); The New North, ed. Chris Agee (Wake Forest 2008); Landing Places, eds. Eva Bourke & Borbala Farago, (Dedalus 2009).  He lives in Belfast and is currently researching a PhD on the work of the Scottish poet and cultural philosopher Kenneth White for the University of Ulster.

Read a sample from this book

Daytime Astronomy
for Peter Doig

In which a young man lies on his back
staring up at the sky.  He seems to be home

but seven sisters tongues are tied, slack
with fuss while others, plough and sow

there are sounds below in the grass, horrible
pusstular excrescences and the weather all-wrong   

perhaps he has more portentous limits
in mind, vowing to work the land, outflows

of rock porridge, sacral bone, daytime astronomy
cry it, ritual clusters mulched by millet. 

Little by little he is transformed, stilled
or occupied by light, lying outside a barn

smacked or hypnotized by Pleiades; momently
halted, bounded by this solitude of loan –

Sick Child, after Metsu

    Ut pictura, poesis,

Scittery, scattery do you lie, after a winter’s teat,
in neat American Freedom baby-grow, our baby

Lenin lookey-likey.  To make words up, love – 
under the arbour that hangs on the hill, Mons Palatinus

Sorrento’s chip, rent town of crane and cappuccino,
all touching pressure, given to lip, feathered by breath

uttered by mouth, held in the ear, set down with fingers,
still to the eye you inhabit more than one wing

peasant scenes and faces, canvases creatured
by Turner’s seascapes, interiors and prisons, taverns

Horace never knew.  Teething on raw enchantment,
you are the spit of Metsu’s sick child, forcefully drawn

listlessly tender, an untouched earthenware bowl
of pap, bare beside a brownish ankle.

Copyright © Paul Grattan 2011

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