Studio Flat comes from Paul Henry’s sixth collection, Boy Running, available February 2015.
Boy Running has three distinct sections:
Recently reeling after a marital break up, poems such as Studio Flat deal with the aftermath of divorce. The poet is left to sift through the emotional fallout and the physical reminders of a shared life left behind: tables, lamps, metronomes, pianos, guitars. The poet’s sons are at the heart of this section where pathos is balanced by humour amidst the characters of a small country town.
A second section moves to the Welsh coastal town of Henry’s childhood, Aberystwyth, and the summer of 1969
In the final sequence we meet Davy Blackrock, a washed-up songwriter and modern day alter ego of Dafydd y Garreg Wen (David of the White Rock), the blind 18th century harpist and composer who fell asleep on a hill and dreamt the famous song which bears his name. In contrast to David of the White Rock, Davy Blackrock, ‘star of an ashen town’, drags his guitar from street to hotel to bedsit, an unsettled ghost who dreams of the perfect song.
Socks hang like bats from a skylight.
They may be dry in time for the moon.
The camp site owner’s water-feature
drains more blood from the sun.
Cars queue for the narrow bridge.
Birds catch their pulses and fly.
I am suddenly old. What’s an attic
but a bungalow in the sky.
And where are you, my sons?
I heard your voices in the bells
of snowdrops pulled by the wind.
These tulips have lost their smell.
Perhaps I could tell you, one day
where the snowdrops went, why old men
dry their socks on the moon, and what
darkened the skylight, just then.