The Bridge that Sings

(Over Effulgence)

Also known as A Fourth

(to "Something's Recrudescence through to its Effulgence")


An Ouselhen upon the willow
clamours so the listening world
will grant the claimed attention
        on the collective and reflective points
of a global auricular sphere
         the song in tumbling, in response
to this alerted person
         and I have been heard, and I am
hearing, more cleanly, and I am calmed
in her melodic lines, and I clear my throat
and I try to speak to say

I have heard in my heart thy throat
in its utterance make, like note to note,
like mate to mate, like soul to soul,
such calls as make my drawing breath
to let befountainously out the warbles
of my celebration of for thee
my gracious losing marbles,
         Venus, my

Coronaberis, Thou

in response and answer;
and our natural history, how, I didn’t know
for the hen as it is for the cock
how feathered somethings rising
in the song as now, as, aye,
my cock bird’s burgeoning.


I have attempted (in the Introduction to the book Mid Life) to explain the adventures of this poem: How I came to be severely embarrassed by it---what line could be more ridiculous than “my cock bird’s burgeoning”?---and yet, wanting A Fourth to the Three Simultaneous Poems, how I attacked and reduced my own work at least twice: once for The Archive of The Now (which I shan’t link here, out of a like embarrassment, and again on this site (now deleted); and how I came to see how my indignation at being ridiculed by my poem fools not the poem but my self; so that in partial shame and humiliation, I came to restore it. Here I’ll simply explain a couple of biographical references.

Loch Ness refers to the homestead of the poet Neil Oram and company. Thither I took the lass named in the poem. I’d been there with the (now ex-)Wife, a couple of times, some years before. And the Wife had taken a funny turn, involving odd delusions about a singing rock of quartz, and spiritual messages from beyond. I became the scribe for some ‘dictated poetry’ that came to her from this source. Later she came to believe that she must have been drugged. I’m sure that that wasn’t the case. The strips of canvas refers to an art exhibition, this latter time, of tapestries hung from the trees.

 Piece Hall Square (Halifax) and Crewe (by Gresty Road) refer to moments in ‘the lass’s’ education, first at Calder College, then at Crewe & Alsager College (now part of MMU) where she did a degree in ‘Performing Arts’---where, in those days (it may have changed) students who may have wanted to become, say, dancers, were compelled to study Continental Philosophy. All very odd.

Another line I might gloss is Love blessed my lungs. This piece has been the only poetry I’ve written, since 1965, completely without the aid of nicotine. I quit smoking, and attributed my success to Love. The lines became more fluent, but perhaps more vapid. I was completely clear for six months, then took to one roll-up a week. Within a year I was back where I started. And the Love was in trouble too. Cigarettes’ll probably kill me, and the anti-smokers’ll gather round the bed to say ‘We told you so’.   

It was my policy, in making these annotations, to Open or Close in at least complete sentences. Since the opening page is one sentence, I shall, for balance, close with the whole closing page, seven pages on.


Three springs I’ve breathed with something’s

        recrudescence through to its effulgence
. Now I finish off this
formal immaterial event, just shuddering this
         side of the acceptance of the fence of full hawthorn
effulgence and the scent, Mayblossom on my

, the woodland cloughs and the adjoining fields’

The same bright particular star that’s constant to
        the shapes I hear, the sphere that’s the idea
of planet music brights, lets love-mist breathe upon
        the house of apple-friendship, bites
into the aura of the moon.
                                                     Myself I think
         I do prefer the wish for, find it purer
that the prayer for, through the distillation of
         internal proof:
                                                       The offered something
spinning to the apex or the crown of a performance
         wherein shadow sheds itself, and something
rectified directs itself to dance through flux
and all sorts of efflorescent and excessive
finishing in floriance, as I do on my own
         internal border of in tune.

                                                         May I
as any hold to one such air and happen
        though the polyphonic comic’s gone so far,
gone far, gone far, walk out
        to find refreshment in the wind and find

the spring’s again a tonic.
                                                            Mine’s an F.

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