Postscript on Peter Riley's The Day's Final Balance
Paperback, 212pp, 8.5x5.5ins, £12.95 / $21
ISBN-13 9781905700097; ISBN-10 19057002097
Further to Edmund's note on Royal Signals, the book in which it is to be found is one of "uncollected" pieces, various writings and rewritings from 65 to 06. There is Alstonefield Part VI which is and isn't a part of the Alstonefield sequence ("I think this is a separate poem, but which retains its title because of its continuity from, and references to, Alstonefield:a poem [I–V]"). There is a sequence of pithy, very short poems, and an intriguing block of seven seven-syllable line poems which have been "over-written" on British poems of the 40s and 50s. There are thirteen distinct sections to the book – a kind of Reader – prose, walk, lyric, songs (actually) to be sung.
What I notice is a kind of elegiac wit in many of these pieces, and it works to make a series of abstract relations between images and the epanodos of terms (such as love, day, world*) appear, not as a bundle of non-sequiturs, but bound into a kind of index-vision (of faithless value) through the character of address – which involves the attenuation of apocalyptic symptoms of the originary which signal themselves but then run into parts of clarity.
* but also many others specific to each poem