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The Number Poems


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Exactly what I’m saying is: the sunset comes,
and, in it, something anaesthetic mutes my mind.
The flock of flies doubles in size; the blackberries bloom.

A budgie in the sludge begins a song so long
a heap of people hear it in the year it takes
and none of them remembers where they heard it first.

The seriously delirious kid lets out his breath
and stipulates the apples which he’ll polish up
and juggle with the plums and crimson damsons at

the middle of my mind. The light grows alluvial;
a gust of hasty melody measures the air.
The mind is modulation. It’s a short haul home.

From 'Construction with Stencil'

Matthew Welton is a poet enchanted by form and process. Many of the Number Poems abide by subtle patterns or constraints, creating symmetries in the arrangement of sentences, lines, words, or metrical feet. As with good architecture, however, Welton’s rules and methods resist exclamation; rather, they are the framework upon which are established localised ambiances, be they of warmth or dazzlement, the home or the dream. Other sequences, such as the mind-altering ‘Melodies for the meanwhile’, begin with a palette of words and images and recombine them kaleidoscopically. By adding layers of colour and sound, Welton composes a modulating sensory wave. Even in silence, we do not so much read these poems as perform them

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