Poem introduction

A Dutch friend of mine, Coen Wessel, commissioned me to write a poem about an exhibition of shirts he was showing in Utrecht. Coen's concept was to create a baptismal shirt rather than a hair shirt. I liked the idea of this, the idea of a shirt which would protect its wearer, which would always fit. I like the conceits of metaphysical poets and thought the idea of a shirt of water would suit the baptismal theme. Around that time, I was in St. Ives and overheard a woman say 'I dread to hear the running of feet in this town'; she was talking about the volunteer lifeboat crew running to man the boat.

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Over the years I’ve become increasingly interested in the lyrical nature of poetry. I find that the more I’ve taken in...

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