The Tall Lighthouse
Alan Buckley

Alan Buckley was brought up on Merseyside. He moved to Oxford in the eighties to study English Literature and has lived there ever since. He has worked, among other things, as a forklift truck driver a psychotherapist, and as poet in residence at a prison. The pamphlet shiver was a Poetry Book Society pamphlet choice for summer 2009.  


PBS pamphlet choice, summer 2009.


Alan Buckley's writing is alive with the need to understand. These poems are like X-rays which see through the surfaces of things and ‘guess their way around the unthinkable dark.’

                                                                                                                     Jean Sprackland


Flaming June from shiver    


but this is a winter spate. Our forty-footer’s

hurried down the Thames from Swinford reach.

At King’s we steer to the lock, then slide into

its chamber, moonishly still, a semi-colon;  

the keeper sets his back to the balance beam,

captures us in a pause of cropped grass,

flowers bedded in squares. Behind a screen

of trees, the feral river charges the weir 

then bursts back into view, dark and foaming.

It surges hard, pummels the lower gates.

The man strolls past us, a limited god  

in short sleeves, sturdy trousers. You’ll need

to give it some. Keep both hands on the tiller.

He spins the sluice-wheels. Gently, we descend.






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