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  Peter Riley
Peter Riley was born 1940 near Manchester and now lives in Cambridge. Author of some twenty books and pamphlets of poetry, his Passing Measures, a selection of poems 1966-1996, appeared from Carcanet in 2000. Since then his principal books have been: Alstonefield (a long poem) Carcanet 2003, The Dance at Mociu (a book of Transylvanian prose sketches) Shearsman 2003, Excavations (prose poems) Reality Street Editions 2004 and A Map of Faring (Parlor Press, USA) 2005. The Gig (Toronto) issue 4/5 2000, was devoted to discussion of his poetry, with a detailed bibliography.



Derek Bailey's Funeral

The plucked string resounds but the finger no longer plucks it.

I was in Paris when Derek Bailey died, on Christmas Day 2005.

A falling away of sound, a hardening, a silence -- the final victory of matter, its return to inertia.

In Paris it snowed lightly, a fine powdery snow that was scattered here and there on the ground among all those light-coloured buildings, all that pale stone, white between white, on grey.

In Barcelona the parakeets squawk in the umbrella pines in the parks, each for as long as it is able and then passes the duty on to another. A tall thin man of 75 and his younger wife pass beneath the squawking pine trees regularly, day after day, each time moving more slowly, moving less and less, like a vibrating string no longer renewed.

No recording can deliver us from the new silence, the stiffness of the fingers, the hardening of the arteries, the hand that can no longer grasp a plectrum, the music that can no longer speak.

© Peter Riley 2006