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A Difficulty

Elizabeth Jennings Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

A God, however, who needs us.

What better motive can we use

To make ourselves at one with these

Blossom-waiting apple trees?

What better way to tell again

The Eden story and its pain?

But there’s a death that felled the world.

A God died once. Spring air was cold

But strong belief affirms that this

God-man rose up, kept promises,

O Christ upon a flowering tree,

Be your own Spring, blossom with me.

A Difficulty

Why do words stick in my throat, the ones I want

Poised on the edge of my mind? The drift is love,

And I, so glib at other times, lack proof,

In words I mean, of my gratitude. I can’t

Be gracious except in silence. Poems move

And link in ranks and rhythms. They are fleet

Compared with affectionate conversations. I stand,

Angry, frustrated, sometimes put out a hand,

Miming love. Meanwhile you must sit

Till I touch your hand most shyly. Thus I wait

On the mood and minute. You must do the same

And you won’t seem to mind. At least, we both know

That nothing is overstated. My words are slow

In coming, but when I at last murmur your name

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The Radio Men

Elizabeth Jennings Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF
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First Admirers

Elizabeth Jennings Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

First Admirers

In those early days it was a game.

I didn’t know the rules

This didn’t matter. I lived in a dream

Of love. So many love poems and love tales

Turned out to be quite true at this beginning.

The world shone clear for me.

There was no trickery or any cunning.

Men admired me and I honestly

Do not think I toyed or trifled with

Their feelings. Very soon

One would wound me. Love can be dark beneath

This sweet long dance, the working of the moon.

The Near Perfection

This was all sweet and leaping, reciprocal,

Love took off from ground and we were two

Fitted together in body and mind also

Compassion crowned the royal state of love,

This glory of the senses when they are

Controlled, the eager longing that the other

One should always share

Or more than share this love which did indeed

Happen at first sight. Two Summers through

Love was our city and our state of mind,

It painted and it lit up everyone

But all was broken and I don’t know why,

Perhaps I thought perfection could endure.

That kind of love, I think, belongs to Spring.

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Elizabeth Jennings Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

I am the black theme of my history

But Summer tells another story.

Loss batters me yet in storms of memory.

A Kind of Magnet

I came upon a kind of magnet-pull

But where’s the metal? I become aware

Not of self, that feuding miscreant,

Invalid sufferer. No, now to the full

I feel the planet cruising through the air

And light’s the one important element.

Let mystics climb their ladders to the dark

And wrangle with a Satan’s greedy throng.

Let holy people hasten to their work.

There is a star that surely sings a song,

Make no mistake the moon has made its mark

More than in several shapes night after night,

Stars form and group. And is this casual?

What is the power behind the element

Of light? What makes me ask the stars to fill

The air with a new version of Plain-Chant?


Falling leaves in Summer, willows weeping

Into any river, drowned twice over,

The real and the reflected swans go by

Slid by someone’s hand it seems.

Light’s falling

From sun at five o’clock, some small fish darted

By to some end of their own.

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A Music Sought

Elizabeth Jennings Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

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