At the Tate Modern
About the Author
Joe Winter was born in 1943. He took up poetry at university where he studied Latin and Greek and English Literature. From 1967 to 1993 he taught English in London comprehensive schools, and in 1994 moved to Kolkata where he taught part-time before returning to England in 2006. In Kolkata he wrote a number of articles for The Statesman and other journals on literary and general topics. He has published translations of Rabindranath Tagore’s Gitanjali, Lipika, Atmaparichay (as co-translator), a selection of Tagore’s poems first to last (The Golden Boat); a selection of the poems of Jibanananda Das (Naked Lonely Hand), and Das’s Rupasi Bangla (Bengal the Beautiful). In addition he has published an account of his stay in India, Calcutta Song. His more recent works are translations of Beowulf and the Middle English poem Pearl; a reading of Shakespeare’s Sonnets (Two Loves I Have); and an exploration of Hamlet (Hide Fox, and All After). Writers Workshop has brought out all of Joe Winter’s own poetry to date; this is his twenty-second volume. He blogs at http://joewinter-poet.com/.
Charge, CHARGE! I am in the rugby game
of my life.
Do not think of not winning,
this fixture is a “must”.
I hug the ball to my chest;
it is valuable beyond pearls and rubies.
CHARGE! There is no-one to pass to.
The loose scrum has tightened, tightened,
they are clawing, blocking, all sorts of shenanigans.
I shall not give it up.
In the eye of the storm
it is all there, as if it could go in a second,
the dalliance, the dance with the Fates,
the drift and the dare and the dazzle,
the path down a petal-strewn journey.
I see it, admit it, and I blow it away
the impenitent hoohah of my being
Take it all as seriously as you like, my friends,
the fact is, the hard grit, that takes the skin off the face
is the surface I embrace. Up again, a few feet more . . .
this fixture is a one-off.
The rules as we know them are suspended.
In the onslaught and counter-onslaught of new rules,
new ploys, new bondings . . . and almost it seems
in the struggles of a new birth as to who we are and what we are
my friends, there’s a prize worth the playing for
on our treasured ground.
I shall not give it up,
the trust that is placed in me.
Bear with me. A score’s on the cards –
a result to work wonders.
I shall move heaven and earth
to get the ball over the line.
Theresa / 9
Boris / 11
James Lovelock, Gaian / 13
The Brothers / 14
River Lodge / 17
Housewarming / 18
Le Chemin des Juifs / 19
On Hearing of a New Friend’s Death / 20
Pic / 21
Birthday Wish / 22
Upping Sticks / 23
At the Tate Modern / 25
Three poems from Lockdown
Birthday Text / 61
To the Sea / 72
Sestina / 73