This poem is taken from Stand 215, 15(3) October - November 2017.

Tony Roberts Two Poems
From The Silence
Sibelius lived in Järvenpää, Finland until he was over ninety. But he released virtually no music from his forest home for the last thirty years of his life and ‘the Silence from Järvenpää’ became as much of a talking point as the music. Continually pestered about an eighth symphony, the composer battled alcohol addiction, depression and above all self-criticism.

God’s door opens for a moment, and angels are singing him.
The notes form up on paper, like boys on the western front.
Earth and worms and heartache won’t stop the raid, can’t
avoid a stalemate. Wave after wave. No good. Yet a form  

the honest artist may with luck and hard work uncover
hides beneath the bloody mess, a raw material from worlds
brutally broken up – dig, it’s a kind of clay and it moulds
the shape, the shape you’re after, the shape of when war is over.


An estuary path above an accompanying canal, homage
to light on water as it wakes to taste the sea. A fisherman catching
pike tells walkers the size of it, then returns to his tai chi.
Distant roads, a bike, the only noise, and wind rummaging  

reeds that edge the canal. No bridge to help you reach
the far side, the estuary shore, though gradually seven locks
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