Alasdair Paterson

Palmer’s cornfields

All the painters you loved
and their sadnesses, usually –
the ones you didn’t choose
for your life, for us.
And, towards the end,
a postcard for a nightlight.
Samuel Palmer. It still shines.

In the gallery, I miss
your hand on my
sleeve, a soft tuition.
I wouldn’t say anymore:
let me see it for myself.
I’d wait for you now
and as long as it takes
under that alchemic moon
by the cornfield’s kiln
of fired-up red and gold.

Later, later. But for now
this one is me; on another
sepia day, stretched out,
back against a monotone field
with a book I’m hardly reading.
I’m waiting for the colours to come back.

Alasdair Paterson’s most recent collections are On The Governing Of Empires (Shearsman 2010), Brumaire And Later (Flarestack 2011), Elsewhere Or Thereabouts (Shearsman 2014) and My Life As A Mad King (Oystercatcher 2016). He lives in Exeter, where he presents the monthly Uncut Poets event and chairs the annual Poetry Festival.