Colin Graham

The rocketry experts were all shot. They had to start again from scratch, Prelude & Those on the list include

Colin Graham

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The rocketry experts were all shot. They had to start again from scratch.

The percentage of works in a minor key

The auditorium which holds more informers than before

The number of enemy newspapers who want an interview

The number of letters received from admirers, each a death sentence

The success of 1, which measures the lack of colour in 2, 3 and 4

The 30,000 citizens of the enemy state for whom I played the approach of totality

The numbers of kidnapped who are decreed never to have been kidnapped

Every number less or more than the Master’s auspicious 9.


A great sea of people moved, solemnly –

soldiers, sailors, workers, students,

new free citizens of the city –

and on their shoulders the coffins,

rocking in time to the funeral song.

They stopped along the route and heard speeches

in the name of freedom, revolution and the dead;

there they had gathered since early morning,

frosted by the cold dawn wind,

clinging to trees and lamp-posts.

Later D. played quietly the notes

of a new tune, recalling the sabre swish

that cut a boy in two. The sound he’d have heard

if he had been – if he was – a witness.

Those on the list include:

first wife; second wife; third wife;

daughter and son;

all of the sisters and one close friend;

his secretary, who was generally loyal;

his young admirers, who had forgotten the war;

the artist who sculpted his marble bust;

those comrades who were, like him, evacuees;

those they call his ‘Muses’ (for shame!);

old companions from the pre-war anxiety;

the critic who will be gaurantor of his posterity;

a seedy conductor; his most fulsome interpreter;

his many collaborators; his few curators;

several families, of inevitable longstanding;

the director of his film; his replacement violin.

Colin Graham

Colin Graham's most recent book is Northern Ireland: 30 Years of Photography (2013). His poetry has recently been published by The TangerineThe Literateur and The Pickled Body, and his essays and short stories have appeared in The Edinburgh Review and The Dublin Review. He is co-editor of The Irish Review and curator of the Illuminations gallery at Maynooth University, where he is Professor of English. His website is