I have torn up a friend’s poem which had made
My soul his, so, beautiful for a while, his gift
Remaining. All my life, I have had trouble
Discerning anything. I now think it wasn’t worth
The trouble. A fog. Two or three things since birth,
Not four or five, have entered me like bullets.
Lovers, not poets, have fired them point blank.
Maybe heaven is a bullet. Everything else
Is fog. Henry James sees fog as the only colour.
In this, he surpasses Berkeley. Fog is;
It is not perception; we are of it. Like Venice
And water. Like Henry James: those rich girls
In white dresses who scarcely discern anything
For eight hundred pages. The soul for a while.
This poem was Commended in the FRP Competition 2014/5
Richard W Halperin’s full collections are published by Salmon Poetry, Limited, Cliffs of Moher: Anniversary, 2010; Shy White Tiger, 2013; and listed for Autumn 2015, Quiet in a Quiet in Quiet House. Short collections, all 2014, are via Lapwing Publications, Belfast: A Wet Day & Mr Sevridge Sketches; Pink, Ochre, Yellow; the Centreless Astonishment of Things. a competition chapbook, Empty Rooms, also appeared in 2014, via Thynks Publications, Nottingham.