February 1999

Peter Robinson


Henry Taylor

Mark Bibbins
  Sharon Cumberland
  Philip Dacey
  Daniela Gioseffi
  Brent Goodman
  Mark Halperin
  Ben Howard
  Stellasue Lee
  Linda Lerner
  John McKernan
  DeWayne Rail
  David Rigsbee
Peter Robinson
  Terry Savoie
  Joseph Stanton
  Mary Winters

David Grayson

Lloyd Schwartz

Rosa Shand
  Daniela Gioseffi

Peter Robinson Peter Robinson was born in England in 1953. He teaches in Tohoku University, Sendai, where he is a visiting professor of English literature. His books include Overdrawn Account (Many Press: 1980), This Other Life (Carcanet: 1988), which won the Cheltenham Prize, Entertaining Fates (Carcanet: 1992) and Lost and Found (Carcanet:1997).
Die Lilliputbahn    Click to hear this poem in RealAudio

    for Diethard Leopold

It wasn't roasted chestnuts in their cones,
a roller-coaster's ups and downs
or that famous ferris wheel's slow turns,
but the quiet of the Lilliputbahn's
station platform, where we sat
until the train arrived, which came
to represent for me Vienna's quiet.

Because they had taken a piece of its heart
during the seven German years,
if through the Prater's woods a train's
going in mist with an echo of voices,
its clatter among the leaves explains
why quiet on that station platform
came to represent Vienna's quiet.

I'm taking exactly what can't be undone
to hurl it, at least in a manner of speaking,
into a future, as trees on the turn
will bear this summer's memories
but hint while they do of a chill to come.
We had arrived by the Lilliputbahn.
I was listening in to Vienna's quiet
among the leaves of an early autumn.


In This Life    Click to hear this poem in RealAudio


With the torque of a ceiling propellor
precarious as it drives still air
in this life, there's waking alone
on a far side of the globe or town;

there's waiting on benches, choked by routine,
to glimpse the new-born through a glass screen
and family matters we wanted to tell you
but had to postpone.


In this life there's no end of scars,
no end of being in the wars —
a car crash, brain surgery, now the caesarian
cut faintly marring your mother.

But in the other, we're walking near home
through outskirts flecked with shade and sun,
for though life itself's an idea
(naming, imagining you) it's one
the future will just have to play by ear.



Peter Robinson: Poetry
Copyright � 1999 The Cortland Review Issue SixThe Cortland Review