The Manhattan Review
The Manhattan Review
Established 1980

Archive > Vol. 2 no. 2


Peter Redgrove

Cornish Forces


The houses swim away like great tiled fishes.
There is a hillside of rippling thatch
And rushes blowing into the lake below.
There are houses built with shadow as well as stone,
Palladian, like a sun-dial you may enter,
And there are the great Indian telescopes like stone theaters
Big enough for a party among the stars

Though when night comes in Palladian mansions
It is time to sleep. There is gray grain
Waving under ashtrees. On the estuary,

The buoy or glimmering metal man pin-pointing the way.
It is the most gentle spot in Cornwall,
I mean, the most haunted. You hear the stars

Conversing in the radio-set, pacing
Over the sky in their scratchy slippers,
You see them as they peer through the black floor
With crinkling eyes, on the radio

You can hear them rustling through the bunches of static
Like turning over the great pages of the night.
The skirts of their personalities brush us,
The houses swim away into the rain that comes starring into the lake.