matt's notebook

string

Under Waterloo bridge is heaven
take up your violin,
put up your bow and play

You double-stop blood oranges and oleander.
Desert crushing the sea, tongue crushing the flowers.
Too much the sun and tide, too few the grasses
or your pulse too sharp?

Slight held, quick and never on the quiet,
you take the pressure off your heart.
Now you shred your zest, you bruise
and we bruise too, relay the news.

sun minus 1 degree

You waltz the spaceships down.
You were Welsh once dad, now you're a cider drinker,
lied your way through England for work,
lied your way through all those girls.

Spaceships turn,
who knows that silent space?
Age 7, best friend spiked on the park fence one night,
who knows that silent space?

sun minus 1 degree

Breathes in, his heart runs faster,
breathes in, his throat locks.
Now, boy, harder, hard on his lungs.
His body stiffs, you go limp and run.

And the deal is the copper's bent, the government's
bending so hush, boy, hush. But some git bilks, raises
the dead. Shake this gent's hand and go. Its Guy Fawkes night,
the crowd's looking skyward.

sun minus 1 degree

The tv's silent, snowbound:
Balalaikas soar. 'Where am I going, comrade?'
Nib scratches. Locomotive and horses steam.

A child thought in the water tank:
'That child is ill, doctor, don't you hear it?'
Nib scratches. Ambulance takes.
Your hopes and fears are met by deep and dreamless sleep tonight.

Watch the windows steam. Listen to the gas fire carol.

sun minus 1 degree

Baby pate, you are a moon in your firmament,
swaddling beard, your are a cloud travelling.

Bum balances your bow,
hams string your violin,
eyes expect your elbows.

Your tune turns the tide,
weighs the scarf about your waist,
you sail on the sheets again.

Under Waterloo bridge is heaven
stand down your strings
put up your violin and bow

Matthew John Williams
2000


One evening last Summer, a violinist under Waterloo Bridge outside the National Film Theatre. The stanzas are portraits, the last being of the player himself. Each portrait also relates to a film theme as follows: Lawrence of Arabia (Maurice Jarre, theme), 2001: A Space Odyssey (Johann Strauss, Blue Danube Waltz), A Clockwork Orange (Beethoven, 9th Symphony), Dr Zhivago (Maurice Jarre, Lara’s Theme), Conte de printemps (Beethoven, Spring Sonata).