2621 Slices
Medium 9781847771322


Burt, Dan Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF


Sundays they trudged to the downtown schvitz,

An old trade rite, to steam suet and grit

From grimy pores and from bones the chill of

Ice-boxes and concrete floors. Platzas

Done, mummy-wrapped in cheap thin sheets

Flung over deck chairs from headrests to feet,

They rest in rows like corpses gathered

After a Cossack raid on the Dnieper.

It could have been Odessa, before the war.

Gossip flickers from sweating ghost to ghost –

Futures and unions, gelt grubbed and lost,

How the chains will force them all to the ditch,

Whose mother-in-law is the bigger bitch –

But sure as grain grinds down millstone grooves

Talk rumbles round to ancestral Jews,

English fades to Yiddish, newspapers fall,

Badinage ends, a defendant’s called.

It could have been Toledo, without the Cross.

Trial begins in time-honored fashion,

Sheeted bencher posing Arendt’s question:

How could you go like cattle to slaughter?

You don’t understand, a big man mutters,

We thought we were going to labor camps.

Cheerful cards arrived with Polish stamps.

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Medium 9781847770684

Out of the Heights

Elizabeth Jennings Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

Out of the Heights

Out of the preening and impetuous heights

Where we look down and do not fear and risk

The snow escaping, the ice-melting flights,

And where we spin the sun a golden disc

And do not care and watch the clouds attend

The tall sky’s dazzling and arched arabesque,

Out of those places where we think we end

Unhappiness, catch love within a final hand,

God, from such places keep us and defend

The innocence we do not understand,

The darknesses to which we must descend.

The Nature of Prayer a debt to Van Gogh’s Crooked Church

Maybe a mad fit made you set it there

Askew, bent to the wind, the blue-print gone

Awry, or did it? Isn’t every prayer

We say oblique, unsure, seldom a simple one,

Shaken as your stone tightening in the air?

Decorum smiles a little. Columns, domes

Are sights, are aspirations. We can’t dwell

For long among such loftiness. Our homes

Of prayer are shaky and, yes, parts of Hell

Fragment the depths from which the great cry comes.

Thomas Aquinas

Thinking incessantly, making cogitations always but as keenly, freshly as the child

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Medium 9781847770998

Paul Eluard

John Gallas Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF
Medium 9781847778512

Cardiff Elms

Clarke, Gillian Carcanet Press Ltd. ePub

Until this summer

through the open roof of the car

their lace was light as rain

against the burning sun.

On a rose-coloured road

they laid their inks,

knew exactly, in the seed,

where in the sky they would reach

precise parameters.

Traffic-jammed under a square

of perfect blue I thirst

for their lake’s fingering

shadow, trunk by trunk arching

a cloister between the parks

and pillars of a civic architecture,

older and taller than all of it.

Heat is a salt encrustation.

Walls square up to the sky

without the company of leaves

or the town life of birds.

At the roadside this enormous

firewood, elmwood, the start

of some terrible undoing.

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Medium 9781847770684


Elizabeth Jennings Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

You stand on tiptoe waiting for the sun.

You always were the optimist while I

See through your eyes now, now the dark is done.

Listen, a cock is crowing far away.

The sky blushes to pink. The birds confide

Their secrets to the dawn, the start of day.

Give me your world and turn upon your side.

We have a link more sure than rings of gold.

Our ways together are both deep and wide.

I am the nervous one and you the bold,

So different, though we never can divide.

You have on me what sea has to the cold

Moon. I feel chains. O turn back to my side.


At first a fume of mist in the morning is

The horse, haltered to dawn, smoke round his feet,

That herald of the heat.

He canters in a sun-disclosing place

Before day-sounds, before the hounds will meet.

He walks away from psalms and rituals,

Is but the remnant of a Pegasus

At night riding to us.

He is himself and here and nowhere else,

Hint of a new event or a first cause.

The dawn is clearing but the horse is there

Tossing his mane. The sun is pouring through

Fragments of mist to go

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