1476 Slices
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Not Mine

Elizabeth Jennings Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

Not Mine

Take my hands, full moon, take my

Aspirations. Take my hope,

You stars that spread the sky

And I can feel my scope

For joy increasing but it is not ‘I’

Any longer. I am lost in leaves

Falling and staying. In the harvest I

Gathered the corn with power

Of memory and imaginings. I beg,

I cannot stop it, that the last full hour

Of Summer stay with me till Spring next year.

Over and Over

Over and over they suffer, the gentle creatures,

The frightened deer, the mice in the corn to be gathered,

Over and over we cry, alone or together.

And we weep for a lot we scarcely understand,

Wondering why we are here and what we mean

And why there are huge stars and volcanic eruptions,

Earthquakes, desperate disasters of many kinds.

What is the answer? Is there

One? There are many. Most of us forget

The times when the going sun was a blaze of gold

And the blue hung behind it and we were the whole of awe,

We forget the moments of love and cast out time

And the children who come to us trusting the answers we give

To their difficult and important questions. And there

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The Hours

Elizabeth Jennings Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

The Prodigal Son

He is far off, he is very far off, he’s a blur

Of shadow against the setting sun, he is ragged

Clearly and slow and there is a touch of shame

And even penitence. In his vineyards his father

Is gazing at the crop, the promising early

Fruits but suddenly for no apparent reason

He lifts his torso, tilts his head and shades

His eye and something very familiar, a gesture

Of a child who has misbehaved is silhouetted

Against the bonfire blaze, ‘It is my son at last, at last it is

My dear lost son, my promising one, the part

Of my heart I’ve missed for nearly a dozen years.’

In the kitchen a clatter of dishes proceeds and good

Herby smells rise up but the father is running

Fleet as a boy again and the shadow too turns

In an old and hopeless way. The boy doesn’t move

For he is still a boy to his father. The sky

Is festive pink and purple. The father throws arms

About the boy and kisses the thin pinched face,

Smells the dirty clothes and a godlike but also extremely

Human compassion is seen against the light

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The Operation

Elizabeth Jennings Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF
Medium 9781847770684

Moon in December

Elizabeth Jennings Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

Shadow and substance, pale moon facing sun,

Stars like splinters from a hammered forge,

A time for guesses, love words for the dark.


Clouds coming and going, stretching, reclining, opening up a space

For a blue spread, a fetch of an almost sea,

A Mediterranean in the air, and then

There is a hungry, rapacious smoke, there are hidden chimneys

Venting their rage. There cannot be repetitions, surely never

The same sky day and night, north and south, sweet or terrible. I

Need a brush or a Mozart horn, a serene or nearly divine

Impulse, and so there is a God up there

Not as I thought in childhood sitting on clouds

But more majestic by keeping in balance the air,

By simply letting be though deep in control

Of this avid air, this breath that pours out stars

And fixes them as we travel round them. A Claude

Caught the peace, Turner divined almost every

Mood and gesture, lashed to a mast he watched

This vast display, this ever-extending, unrepetitious act

Of light and balance or abrupt of altering air

At which I marvel and silence myself to a stare.

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