R.F. Langley

R.F. Langley’s Collected Poems came out in 2000 and a later collection, The Face of It, in 2007.

Poem: ‘To a Nightingale’

R.F. Langley, 18 November 2010

Nothing along the road. Butpetals, maybe. Pink behindand white inside. Nothing butthe coping of a bridge. Muteson the bricks, hard as putty,then, in the sun, as metal.Burls of Grimmia, hairy,hoary, with their seed-capsulesuncurling. Red mites bowlingabout on the baked lichenand what look like casuallandings, striped flies, Helina,Phaonia, could they be?This month the lemon, I’ll...

Poem: ‘Practical Myth-Making’

R.F. Langley, 8 October 2009

So then. Here, after all, is the old earthquake, the old horse bolting as the cyclist passes on his velocipede. I was ready for exactly that. The headlines in the paper on the table next to my breakfast setting. Nothing jumped. It came in quietly. It was too simple to be much of a person. But I could talk to it, have words with it, the Declaration of the War on France, while dust motes lazed...

Poem: ‘Videlicet’

R.F. Langley, 31 July 2008

Over the reed bed the marsh harriers cavort for spring but far up and cruising above them, a different bird, a glist, a chequin in the fiery manganese air. Their male, in his resentment, pitches to reach it where, whiter and bigger than he is, it pikes on the wind, levels on five-fingered wings, black tips, carpal-patches, which it holds fathomed for a moment then slews and slents away into...

Old vendettas, and no details of them, or whose

heads were on the spikes. I don’t want to go down this

sad, steep street, sidestepping vendors of handbags and

leather belts, only to be remembering those

flagellants. But at the bottom is a grass plot,

railings, a gate, unlocked. Look. Bas-reliefs beside

the Oratory door.Obedience shoulders

her yoke. She stoops her head, lifts her left...

It’s curfew, and I do my turn around the valley, settling down outposts of mine, the little, far- flung castles, Roche this and Rocca that. And ‘Check,’ I say, and ‘Split,’ and ‘Cover up my fire.’ I rouse my sentinels under relict clouds, happy with some altostratus and a roll of rosy billows processing off the peaks. I start the spleenwort by the...

A bird that isn’t there: R.F. Langley

Jeremy Noel-Tod, 8 February 2001

Appropriately for a poet fascinated by the ‘soft fuss’ of flocking birds, these poems rediscover ‘the swift, flitting, swallow-like motion of rhyme’. The verse template in the later poems is syllabic...

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