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Medium 9781847770684

Young Boy

Elizabeth Jennings Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

Young Boy

It was too much of gazing into mirrors

Your sickness then, you said. You could not love

In any way but as reflections do –

Drinking their own denials and dark glances.

Passing from glass to glass

Your feverish fingers only grasped yourself.

And passionate for passions known elsewhere

You turned away from those cold corridors,

Those long-receding glimpses of yourself.

Flinching from self-regarding you walked where

Shadows were thrust aside

And all reflections faded from your sight.

And girl or boy who met you in this mood,

Who did not know how mirrors can deceive,

Gave all audacity into your hands,

Offered a love you had not learnt to use,

Made innocence a skill.

How could they know it was pain more than passion

And suffering more than sensuality

That gave you up into their lives? Too soon

In each surrender you would come upon

That cold bright mirror glance; yourself stared back

Even from deepest looks

And when they turned you had escaped again.

Taken by Surprise

Before, the anticipation, the walk merely

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Medium 9781885635150

Deep Cover

Zach Savich Center for Literary Publishing ePub

for David Bartone

A ladder built into the exterior of a truck,
all anything does is confide, every morning

beginning now, decency its own kind
of constitution, each step onto a balcony or

from a café with little outdoor seating,
not counting the city. “What year

is that from,” the mother says. “First century
AD,” says her son. “But that’s a hundred


for Jeff Downey

We proceed by pattern and anomaly, had
no money but lived above a bakery

and a florist, just-aged flowers free
in a trough. I liked how you called the street

I always take “the secret way,” two fingers
held to a passing dog.

for Hilary Plum

We go to the cinema merely
for the light, view of alleys

from a balcony, to be in
the world and it is mythic:

zinnia market in the churchyard,
onions in mesh, daylit moon

a watermark on foreign currency.


I sang: Tell me of the heart which exists
in which to continue is not
to confine


Then dreamed I sang so loudly, I woke
myself singing

The cygnets’ feet were lost in snow

The cygnets were lovely because footless

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Medium 9781574414479

The Nots

Gibson Fay-LeBlanc University of North Texas Press PDF
Medium 9781847770684

The Robin’s Song

Elizabeth Jennings Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF
Medium 9781885635136

People Live Here

Rob Schlegel The Center for Literary Publishing ePub

Alone, she sleeps in this room. Thirty years
since Tony died
and his produce apron still hangs in the closet.

We hunt ghosts seeping out
from mortar between the chimney-brick.

On Division Street, her boy Jerry died
in a red car.

She walks that route with Louise sometimes.

She insists it is bad luck
to match the color of your house
to the color of the house you were born in.

Bad luck to go to sleep stormy.

The windows are open the morning
she first calls me Jerry
and living, she says, is a person at a time.

People gathered here after Jerry died
and the laurel collected a thin layer of dust.
Just wait until after the next rain, she said,
things will look the way they look again.

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Medium 9781847770998

The Dress

John Gallas Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF
Medium 9781847770974

26 no publicity please

Gallas, John Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF
Medium 9781847770684

Ambiguities, 11 July 1966 (WUL, 1)

Elizabeth Jennings Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF
Medium 9781847771322

The Institute

Burt, Dan Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

The Institute

A sign and ten low buildings pass unnoticed in a field the size of Central

Park: a wallflower by a college town.

Wandering its halls, one-chair offices, bare eggwhite walls, nothing stands out until

I reach a lounge where mathematical notations – integers, fractions, powers, roots, Greek letters, brackets, slashes – weave arabesques of genesis and infant stars for paper napkin audience and nibbled chocolate bars, on slate where palimpsests and marginalia in coloured chalks suggest a coffee break authored this text a plaque below it warns, DO NOT ERASE.

Today’s news is no better than yesterday’s: three suicide bombings in the ‘cradle of civilization’; a dowager billionaire in Voltaire’s homeland gives her daughter’s patrimony to a decorator; tar balls seed hot beaches in a spoiled land whose citizenry always blame others; immortality remains elusive and, sub specie aeternitatis, there will be nothing. The same is forecast for tomorrow, the one bright patch a blackboard crammed with symbols I cannot understand, guarded by three words, DO NOT ERASE.

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Medium 9781847770684

Rapture of Spring

Elizabeth Jennings Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

The Words are Pouring

The words are pouring. Listen to their sound,

Their implication, weather, strength and cry,

Let dictionaries shout against the wind

And lyricism find its weather there.

Here’s a world of freedom hardly won,

The fervent sun is beating on our faces,

Grace is found, religions praise themselves

And men stand back as if creation’s day

Were now and here, and all attempt to pray.

The weather of the world is altering.

Babel begins again, the many tongues

Of fraught mankind are fighting as they sing,

When once more can that younger John be heard –

‘In the beginning always is the Word’?

Rapture of Spring

Play havoc with our language. It is Spring.

Let nouns be adjectives and every adjective

Become an adverb. Let the language sing

As daffodils blow trumpets and the life

Of every bird takes wing.

The sap is running and the rainbow is

Pouring its colours out while every sense

Vies with the others in a wreath of praise,

A purpose of pure joy. Sweet innocence

Marches through our days.

Always something new is found to say.

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Medium 9781847770684

Elegy for W.H. Auden

Elizabeth Jennings Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

Elegy for W.H. Auden

Stones endure as your first and last things.

The carpet slippers, the leather skin,

The incorrigible laughter inaccurately aped,

Those late epigrams which obviously were

The acute desperation of that laughter

These are forgotten almost already.

But the stone your student hand held gently,

Schoolboy hair flopped over years later,

The limestone which reminded you of love

And caught the last strains of your lyrical perceptions,

The walks out of Italy into Austria,

All that grey North which you set glowing

Yes, it is geology, quarries and tools,

The precise tap on the finished fossil,

And last the shuffle on Christ Church cobbles,

The cobbles you must have stared at rather

Than look up as Wren’s Tom trembled your hours –

All these are a life you refused to surrender.

No glass-cases and no museums.

All your grand operas opened into caves

Where your Orators shout and your Mirror is shining.

The Sea stands still but your landscape moves.


All back into their places, steps

Printed on sand, and air to air

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Medium 9781574412420


Richard Carr University of North Texas Press PDF
Medium 9781847770684

Thunder and a Boy

Elizabeth Jennings Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

For the Mind Explorers

What have you done to some of us privately, to perhaps all publicly since you have

Taken away our fables, a child’s toys, taken and hidden, sometimes destroyed them,

Or so it seems, ‘for our good’. What is this ‘good’ that comes with no nurses

That a language, a tongue or one imagination require? You have lived, acted, written, some of you even

Have prophesied, have thus taken over our old role while we stand, gagged, hands tied, in a small cell.

But not for long. We see to that, we confound you by admitting you, by letting you

Trespass upon preserves poets once thought theirs alone. We do more,

We grant you a dispensation to take away our symbols, but in our wakeful nights, since you have now

Taken away at least some of our dreams, we are gentle with you, own you and like the

Raiders, but not spoilers, we have always been, we have plundered, your found, held coins and

With extreme delicacy, been Midas with what you have done, said or thought. So our magnanimity must

Admit its debt to you – no war, no rage, no guilt, only now gratitude and a gentleness.

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Medium 9781847770684

Love Whispered

Elizabeth Jennings Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

Love Whispered

Love whispered to the tide-out

And sang across the wet, reflecting sand.

We were holding hands and murmuring not words

But sounds of supplication, lyric graces.

I have learnt all this from the ocean

In lessons of tide-in and tide-out

As I think myself back to first childhood

And beyond that to floating in kind water

And love that made me and launched me

Into the salt seas of now.


It almost was not. That is what I say

About this minute coloured by the sea,

About this chestnut losing its huge hands

About the boys who pick the polished conkers.

This almost was not now and setting sun

In pink surrenders, scarlet streaks foretelling

Good weather certainly. Now,

I celebrate the clothing of all these,

Their singing and their colour and this now

We stand in peacefully as night intrudes

In kind dark dusk. O celebrate with me.

Squares and Circles

I couldn’t paint it that day

Nor the next nor the next nor the next

But on one clear Winter morning

I saw my scene of September

In bars of light and squares of yellow

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Medium 9781847770684

Almost Drowning

Elizabeth Jennings Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

Almost Drowning

First there was coming,

A coming-to, a sense of giddy

Limbs, another’s or wings gleaming

Across the light. I was the body.

Was air or earth unsteady?

Second were voices,

Syllables, vowels were turning, running

Together. I was having races

With these, to overtake their meaning.

Then one word about drowning.

Third was the sea,

The tear of it about me still,

The time in it never to be

Within my compass or my will,

A birth or death writ small.

Invocation and Incantation

I caught a night-bird on a shaft of wind.

I thought and found it sleeping in my mind.

I took a leaf and held it in my palm.

It sent no shiver through me but pure calm.

I went out late at night to taste the air.

A star shone back at me like my own prayer.

Each second someone’s born, another dies

But early hours do not contain their cries.

Sleepers are all about. O let them see,

When they wake up, peace garnered now for me

And may they lay their sleep upon my mind –

A bird with folded wings no nightmares find.

consequently i rejoice (1977)

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