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45 Christmas thoughts at Atawhai

Gallas, John Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF
Medium 9781574412420


Richard Carr University of North Texas Press PDF
Medium 9781847770684

Patience, 1987 (GU, 2/27/1)

Elizabeth Jennings Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF
Medium 9781847770684

The Lost Symbols

Elizabeth Jennings Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

The Lost Symbols

Missing the symbol they restore the fact:

How seven years back this city was burned down

And minds were gutted too. Men learnt to act

As though there were no meaning in the town,

And chose at last to make as derelict

All dreams they fostered. Dreams are also one

With walls and roofs and they like ashes lie

When a fired city cries for elegy.

Soon stone was piled on stone, another city

Replaced the ruin with its shadow and

Men walked in it but new it had a beauty

Not like the one that burnt beneath their hand.

The dreams would not return. Men’s minds were weighty

With all the sense of searching for a land

Revealing symbols that a man might hold

Within the heart and from those symbols build.

It is a fine tradition they have lost

That spoke in architectural styles, that rang

Out with the bells when all the bells were tossed

And voices spoke up in the sounds and sang,

And men put feet down firmly in the dust

That flowered a legend and the legend was

Their way of life and a man’s peaceful cause.

Now they assemble all the facts to learn

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A Recollection, June 1964 (UD, 186/2/41)

Elizabeth Jennings Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

Darkness there was a moment, but

Enough to know what death must feel

When it comes naturally, is real.

The shouts, the smell, the van door shut

They say ‘Accept,’ but acts like this

Have made me care and feel distress.

(Not mine alone) much deeper than

Ever before. When buses swerve

Or people scream, I feel each nerve

Jump to attention. Oh did man

(But without sin) once always have

This fragile knowledge, close to love?

If so, then in a different way

I’ve learnt of it. I want to cry

Because last year I tried to die

My death moves in me every day

Accompanied by private fears

And incoherences of fears …

A Recollection

Nearly a year ago I tried to take

My life: not pills, that only half-means death.

It was with gas I tried to stop my breath

Yet did not want to finish life but make

Some sign that things were cracking and might break.

But none of this was conscious. I remain

With all that vivid memory – the smell

Of gas, the fear, the childhood thoughts of hell.

I grasped a rosary in my hand to gain

Some hope in hopelessness, a talisman.

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