TWO PARTS WATER
Poems by Victor Price
Victor Price was born in Newcastle, Co. Down in 1930. A linguist both by inclination and education, he taught in Ireland and Germany before going into broadcasting in 1956. His radio work took him from Belfast to Hong Kong (where he lived for three years and started writing novels) and then to London. He has travelled to most parts of the world as part of his job and regards his most important radio assignment so far as being his Polynesian Evening, broadcast on Radio 3 in February 1979.
He has published several novels to date including: The Death of Achilles (about the Cyprus emergency), The Other Kingdom (about a middle-distance runner), Caliban’s Wooing (about schoolmasters), and another called Chinese Opera, set in Hong Kong in the early sixties. Other publications include translations of Bűchner’s plays for OUP Paperbacks. He started writing poetry in 1974 and, apart from the Ulsterman Publications pamphlet Overkill, published in 1980, this is his first collection.
Born to the harsh certainties
Of Ulster, where a spade’s
A bloody shovel and you need to know
What foot to put to it, I came
About the middle of my life
To this mild park-land where
A settled culture had made men fat
While we were shivering behind hurdles. Here
The very trees have more solidity
Than our monuments; a house
Is not a raw cube dropped
Into a gash in a green wilderness,
But a time-weathered artefact
That’s worked gently under the land’s skin
And grown a part of it. Here
The loyalty I offered with a shrug
Has turned to love – oh not the kind
That drives clawed fingers into my chest
Each time I see those battered streets;
Something more equable than that,
Less strong in gusts but steadier all round.
I must have weathered, like the stones and trees.
TWO PARTS WATER
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Cover illustration: Paul Klee, ‘Gelehrter’, 1933. (Collection Käthi Bűrgi, Belp, Switzerland). © 1980, COSMOPRESS, Geneva and ADAGP, Paris.
Publication: WINTER 1980 (64 pages laminated paperback)