Graham Buchan, who graduated as a Chemical Engineer, is an Anglo-Scot resident in London. He has written and directed factual films for television, government departments and industry, and used to picture-edit television news. He has published four books and a pamphlet of poetry, several short stories in prestigious magazines, and dozens of film and art reviews. Through an agency he sold photographs around the world. He has read his poetry in London and southern England, New York, Austin, Vancouver, Nicaragua, France and Iraq.
These histories, all these histories,
descend into history
But I know, that the
abundant, fertile wheat fields of Ukraine
are steeped in blood
and that the occasional ploughing
still turns up a skull.
My music is piped down lonely linoleum corridors
up windy stair wells
through trunking and conduits
to be distributed, like happiness,
to the cranky bed-head junction boxes
and fed, like a drip, through cast-off airline stethoscope headphones
into the ears of the deaf, diseased, discarded, disorientated.
Messiah, Jim Reeves, Richard Tauber, Sailing, I Will Survive.
They are frail. Long-buffeted lives
fetched up at this health service sink estate.
(The hospital, too, hangs on against inevitable closure.)
They settle their tired bones, pained organs,
and lie, memory upon memory, within their own music.
I tour the feeble wards to collect requests.
Big Gary, his bed expanded massively by scaffolding.
Must be Elvis, or The Lady in Red.
And bright-eyed Cecily. She knows her Verdi –
tells me the pizzicato strings in the Act 3 Prelude
mirror Violetta’s tears.
But many, through the lost eyes of childhood,
address me as the doctor, the social worker.
Tell me of sons and daughters who do not visit.
I notice a bed become empty.
Sometimes I experiment. Schnittke, Steve Reich.
I intersperse records with poetry.
Name check the nurses.
When I refer to the time the patients look beyond time
and the staff think of the end of their shift.
At home I also play the music I would like to die to.
My third book of poetry, Lucky, and my fourth book, Burglar, 45 Slight Poems, are available from Lapwing Publications. https://sites.google.com/a/lapwingpublications.com/lapwing-store/graham-buchan