Vahni Capildeo: Water / Ice Cream in Hyde Park with Nikki

Vahni Capildeo

Water

.

I. Cold Hands

There is a moment when

the water seems as if it might be warm.

Quick

wash your face

in the illusion

.

II. The Atlantic.  Like

Putting a handspan square of glass

flat on the sea, thinking I see

something. That’s the sky.

Calling the colour roaring grey

heard in December, when the tide

discourages. That’s a lie

.

III. Opalescent, Crystalline, Amethyst. And Dark

The sea is.

In my mind I never left you.

The sea

is.

Place-holder, holder of a place:

The sea

Who can hold to this? A causeway.

is.

Essential ground for memory.

Twig-runes dust the shore with bird-tracks.

And the wind

.

IV. Changes

Swans and rain and swans in rain

Swans and rain

Swans again

 

.     .     .

 

Ice Cream In Hyde Park With Nikki

Time flies / she’s a dancer / seagulls & eagles
we’re watching walkers’ & cyclists’ ankles
straight up & down as posts! / larks & starlings
they ain’t / that’s Time / stopping & starting
singlescoop chocolatemint slipup
delicious / xylophonic strip / perfume-smelling forearms
vintage gardenia topnote soprano orangeblossom
she swoops / she sings / Time high-steppng
to her Lambretta scooter!

New York, hold your sidewalk breath

 

.
[From Utter (completed 2011; revised 2012. Forthcoming.

‘Water’ is taken from ‘December’, in the 14-month ‘Winter to Winter’ calendar,

Undraining Sea (Norwich: Egg Box, 2009)]

.     .     .

ABOUT THE POET

Vahni Capildeo (b. Trinidad, 1973) went to the UK as a student in 1991, completing her BA (Hons) (First Class) in English Language and Literature in 1995 at Christ Church, University of Oxford.  A Rhodes Scholarship (1996-99) enabled her to pursue a doctorate in Old Norse at the same institution.  After a Research Fellowship at Girton College, Cambridge, Capildeo worked for the Oxford English Dictionary on Etymology and quotational research.

Capildeo’s three poetry collections are: Dark & Unaccustomed Words (2012); Undraining Sea(Egg Box, 2009); and No Traveller Returns (Salt, 2003).  Her poetry and prose have been widely anthologized, most recently in The Best British Poetry 2012 (Salt, forthcoming).  She has been Highly Commended for the Forward Prize (individual poem category, 2009); shortlisted for the Guyana International Prize for Literature (2011).


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