Open letter to Peter Sansom on reading Careful What You Wish For


Dear Peter

Cover-to-cover and back-to-back twice,
as I do, once before sleeping,
then between zeds on a train
woken to Tickets, please
and a man saying to his phone
Sperm don’t make you a father,
his wife’s reddening Shhh!
and laughter drowning his own,
up to The Smoke for a day of it
but mostly to check on her eyes,
what secrets we trust to strangers
just for sitting in front of us
and smiling.  I thought of you listening
but not scribbling it down,
taking your chances later
in whatever quiet you can find,
more than a coach of that name
might offer and hopefully richer.
Which is (the point of this at last)
what I am for packing this half asleep,
and we all are for having you
hiding in plain view your history,
class and reading worn lighter
than the weight of them through a life,
like one of those rivers glimpsed
on one of those walks, meandering
apparently without purpose,
glistening suddenly through trees,
always trees, meeting its own light.

Careful What You Wish For (Carcanet), 2015


  1. Wow, now I must read it! Even without reading it, your beautiful poem captures something of Peter himself, immediately recognisable, a fitting homage to a man who is important to so many of us in the poetry world.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful – thanks for sharing your poem – I also read from beginning to end in one sitting – first time I have done that with a poetry collection – simply brilliant. Now time for some delicious dipping back in moments… lovely to see Peter last weekend too!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My problem here as with much contemporary debate is that I would love to join in but I simply can’t afford it. Paying the best part of a tenner for a slim volume, and it would cost me well over a tenner to get to any library with a snowball’s of having a copy .. out of my league. The reason poetry is a dilettante occupation (and I do still occupy myself with it) is sheer economics. Seriously .. a tenner .. for 64 pages. Which is, btw, a backhanded compliment for putting so much good stuff online for free.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Harry, hope you don’t mind my butting in, but it used to be possible to get one’s library to order in any book, by paying about 70p. No doubt it’s a bit more expensive now, but that might be a way… and it would bolster the poetry collection at your local library too!!

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Hi Harry, great to hear from you. You don’t have to join in. None of us do. But when you discover something that is so real and layered and enjoyably complex it is a cause for celebration. I needed to mark it. As ever with best wishes, Anthony


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