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Medium 9781885635150

Thin Horse

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

years.”

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.

1.

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

2.

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 9781847772381

Honey

Rebecca Goss Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF
Medium 9781847779731

EVE

Rossetti, Christina Carcanet Press Ltd. ePub

‘While I sit at the door,

Sick to gaze within,

Mine eye weepeth sore

For sorrow and sin:

As a tree my sin stands

To darken all lands;

Death is the fruit it bore.

‘How have Eden bowers grown

Without Adam to bend them?

How have Eden flowers blown,

Squandering their sweet breath,

Without me to tend them?

The Tree of Life was ours,

Tree twelvefold-fruited,

Most lofty tree that flowers,

Most deeply rooted:

I chose the Tree of Death.

‘Hadst thou but said me nay,

    Adam my brother,

I might have pined away–

    I, but none other:

God might have let thee stay

Safe in our garden,

By putting me away

Beyond all pardon.

‘I, Eve, sad mother

Of all who must live,

I, not another,

Plucked bitterest fruit to give

My friend, husband, lover.

O wanton eyes, run over!

Who but I should grieve?

Cain hath slain his brother:

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Medium 9781847770684

Moonlight on the Oxus, c.1940 (UDEL, 186/7/87)

Elizabeth Jennings Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF
Medium 9781847770684

Elegy in Spring

Elizabeth Jennings Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

The sweet and melancholy moments when the gods

Ape our behaviour and step from their sacred groves

Into towns of turmoil, ‘Where is grief to be lost?’ you ask

‘Or at least turned into useful fables, the kind

Your children in the fever of first love

Will turn to and appropriate as models?’

How kind and simple seem those first emotions,

Untouched by all the posturing of irony,

Held in the eye and clear before the day,

Standing in their own sufficiency.

For the rest there is only the dignity of the present

Sliding away into the bookish past

While we eye the future through dazzling sunsets or starlight,

Our loss neither belittled nor magnified

But seen in its true form terribly frightened or bewildered,

While our children play the game of first betrayal,

Sure of the ease and luxury of first love

With time’s finger only sketching the sun’s behaviour.

They were ourselves once long ago, so how

Could we indeed bear to disillusion them?

Elegy in Spring

Even in Spring I see an elegy,

A long recall, a cherishing the past.

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Medium 9781847771346

Sacrifice

Julith Jedamus Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF
Medium 9781847779731

‘TO-DAY FOR ME’

Rossetti, Christina Carcanet Press Ltd. ePub

    She sitteth still who used to dance,

She weepeth sore and more and more:–

Let us sit with thee weeping sore,

       O fair France.

    She trembleth as the days advance

Who used to be so light of heart:–

We in thy trembling bear a part,

       Sister France.

    Her eyes shine tearful as they glance:

‘Who shall give back my slaughtered sons?

‘Bind up,’ she saith, ‘my wounded ones.’–

       Alas, France!

    She struggles in a deathly trance,

As in a dream her pulses stir,

She hears the nations calling her,

       ‘France, France, France!’

    Thou people of the lifted lance,

Forbear her tears, forbear her blood;

Roll back, roll back, thy whelming flood,

       Back from France.

    Eye not her loveliness askance,

Forge not for her a galling chain:

Leave her at peace to bloom again,

       Vine-clad France.

    A time there is for change and chance,

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Medium 9781847770974

10 hyperbole

Gallas, John Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF
Medium 9781847770684

Haunted House

Elizabeth Jennings Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

Dying like other men?

Immediate mourners know the whole of grief

When they’ve seen the dying in pain

And the gradual move toward the end of life.

O death comes again and again

And starts with the crying child and the doctor’s knife.

An Elusive One

You slipped away but left your ghost.

Did you expect me, then, to trust

Hauntings like that? I sent them off.

I want no counterfeits of love.

You play me false. Why would you be

That cold, elusive one? I see

No point in indirectness. Say

What your game is. Why do you play

So deviously? Come full, come clear

As out will come a shouldering star

With only one way to be seen.

Are you so unsure who you are?

Haunted House

The house was haunted yet the dwellers there

Could never run away.

They were accustomed to its chilly air

And felt calm during day.

It was the night which was their warder and

Kept them locked within

Half-fear, half-curiosity. A wind,

A draught, then quiet and now ghosts would begin

Their little tappings, moans and then a cry.

The dwellers lay still then.

Why do we waste time thinking, ‘Who next dies?’

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Medium 9781847770684

Night Concert at Taormina

Elizabeth Jennings Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

Chinese Poem

It would be an error to suppose

This is impersonal.

True the sky is drained of all but palest

Blue, and true that one cool willow here

Repeats itself in water never rough.

But look more closely, watch the handiwork,

The painter gives himself away in his

Careful calligraphy.

He signs himself in letters which themselves

Are further pictures, miniatures and all

Are upright, at attention.

Here we may gaze at coolness which is worked for.

Monet would have understood how closely

This painter’s eye studied the way all water

Is on the move, is never still because

Sun whether dazzling or, as here, concealed,

Coaxes it constantly in serious play.

This eastern painter sent his brushes chasing

To marry elements and keep them linked,

Water and airy light, in unison,

But drawn together by a human touch.

Night Concert at Taormina

The Greco-Roman Theatre

The spectacle is changing into sound,

The columns, plucked by song, turn into light,

Two key-boards rise in triumph from the ground

And fill the spaces of a warm good-night.

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Medium 9781847770998

Swanchick

John Gallas Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

a lovely chick popped out of each shell at the Right Time.

But out of one shell popped a chick that was not lovely like all the others.

He did not have goldie feathers or glazebright wings.

He was smoky, with biiiiig saaaad eyes.

And all the other birds gawped at him, and all the little fieldchicks pecked at him.

And his little neck bled, and he couldn’t find any friends.

And at night, when all the little chicks went to snuggle under warm wings and soft love-touches, he pattered up along with them, shyly, for a sleep, to hush his poor little body and soul, but he did not get peace and soft love-touches, just smacks that made him flap-patter away.

He shivered in the shadows, droopy, staring at the nest like it was a castle in a magic meadow, and nodding off on the ladder where he perched, all afraid of Bad Animals, and softly saying,

Why don’t you love me, mum?

Ah, but on the water, while all the other clutchy-claw chicks gawped lakewards from the bushy shadows, the Ugly Chick paddled perfectly, which made the others all wonder and ashamed.

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Medium 9781847770998

Night Gleam

John Gallas Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF
Medium 9781847770684

A Disabled Countryman

Elizabeth Jennings Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF
Medium 9781847770684

The Child and the Shadow

Elizabeth Jennings Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

a sense of the world

(1958)

The Child and the Shadow

Your shadow I have seen you play with often.

O and it seems a shadow light before you,

Glittering behind you. You can see what lies

Beneath its marking dappled on the water

Or on the earth a footprint merely;

No total darkness is cast by your body.

Say that it is a game of identities this –

You chasing yourself not caring whatever you find.

You have not sought a use for mirrors yet,

It is not your own shadow that you watch,

Only our world which you learn slowly:

Our shadows strive to mingle with your own,

Chase them, then, as you chase the leaves or a bird,

Disturb us, disturb us, still let the light lie gently

Under the place that you carve for yourself in air;

Look, the fish are darting beneath your reflection

But you see deep beyond your glance:

It is our shadow that slides in between.

Old Woman

So much she caused she cannot now account for

As she stands watching day return, the cool

Walls of the house moving towards the sun.

She puts some flowers in a vase and thinks

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Medium 9781847770684

In the Night

Elizabeth Jennings Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

For I would travel from the mind

And move beyond the intellect

And search and search until I find

Identity clear in total act;

Then learn how landscape is combined

With images we mint and make

From the mind’s fret and the bones’ ache.

And I would feel the invading vision

Without a self to stand and watch,

Without these hands to trap and touch;

Bodiless I would prove my passion

By learning the character of each

Landscape or person that I love,

Clothing them only with contemplation.

Out of this will to be beyond

Myself I come, return again

Into the struggling thoughts within

The boundaries of my own mind.

Yet something of those loves, that land

Batters and batters on my thought,

And, once more separate in the heart,

I feel the images that strained

Within me join the landscape drained

Of everything but its own light.

In the Night

Out of my window late at night I gape

And see the stars but do not watch them really,

And hear the trains but do not listen clearly;

Inside my mind I turn about to keep

Myself awake, yet am not there entirely.

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