2621 Slices
Medium 9781847772268

No Place

Ward, David C. Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF
Medium 9781847771551

A Northward Journey and a Summer Storm

Davidson, Peter Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

A Northward Journey and a Summer Storm

Those artists were masters of the soul and eye and the place: they taught you how to see, just because they never spoke. Was there such a crispness in the air, in Norfolk or in Northumberland two hundred years ago? Did I really see for myself the yellow and the green leaves yesterday in a pool of light, or had

Cotman taught me speechlessly to see them?1

If I had not lingered over those landscapes in the museum at

Norwich longer than I should have done that June afternoon a few years ago, we would have driven into the worst onslaught of one of the greatest storms in decades. We had spent a few days in Cotman’s own landscape, in an old house between Norwich and Yarmouth, in the shelter of broad, deep-shaded trees, with glimpses through to the wide, brilliant sky over fields full of standing grain. I had walked with our host to their stone-flagged church to see the fading diaper on the screen, lit by greenish light falling through leaves and very old glass.

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One Flesh

Elizabeth Jennings Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

I think I know a little what you feel,

Being myself childless a different way.

When I see babies, they are not quite real.

I know, like you, the wonder – and dismay.

Love Poem

There is a shyness that we have

Only with those whom we most love.

Something it has to do also

With how we cannot bring to mind

A face whose every line we know.

O love is kind, O love is kind.

That there should still remain the first

Sweetness, also the later thirst –

This is why pain must play some part

In all true feelings that we find

And every shaking of the heart.

O love is kind, O love is kind.

And it is right that we should want

Discretion, secrecy, no hint

Of what we share. Love which cries out,

And wants the world to understand,

Is love that holds itself in doubt.

For love is quiet, and love is kind.

One Flesh

Lying apart now, each in a separate bed,

He with a book, keeping the light on late,

She like a girl dreaming of childhood,

All men elsewhere – it is as if they wait

Some new event: the book he holds unread,

Her eyes fixed on the shadows overhead.

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Instinct for Seasons

Elizabeth Jennings Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

Much to be Said

There is much to be said

For undramatic landscapes, for pale skies,

For hills which do not overtire the eyes,

For rivers which yield quickly the treasure at their bed,

And where no sea

Haunts or hunts save when gulls bear

Witness to cold. Within such places you hear

Nature moving calmly with grace and integrity.

Here there is rest

But not so much the dwellers lull and steep

Themselves too long. No, missing here the deep

And high movements of land and bird makes people guest

Rather than those

Who settle, take for granted. I have found

My voice, my language here. It is a ground

Which starts my song, which also tells the proper close.

Instinct for Seasons

As some have divining instincts

For water, gold or diamond,

Can tell by a twitch or a scent,

So others, I among them,

Have a similar gift to tell

Of a season changing. It’s not

In the power of one sense only

Or a habit of memory.

If I could tell the causes

I’d lose the knack or gift.

But causes jump to mind

And here are a few: – a concern

For how a bird’s song hollows

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Medium 9781857549867

In Oradour

Clarke, Gillian Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

In Oradour


May 2007. There is always a blackbird – always a pair of blackbirds: the male to sing all day long from the first sign of spring until the end of June, and the female to busy herself all winter shopping in the mulch on the ground under the bird feeders, or beside me in the polytunnel once her brood is reared. I like to think that this bird is the eternal blackbird, the one which has kept me company here for over twenty years. The one blackbird which has sung from its perch in an ash tree, and fed every winter since blackbirds were first recorded in Irish and Welsh poetry, the blackbird in the poetry of the early bards and the manuscripts of the scribes. But this blackbird is like no other. She wears a white collar, white cheek patches and a white cap. She looks rather prim. A nursemaid. Last spring we worried that her strange appearance would put off a mate, and that she might be rejected by the other blackbirds. However, she had a fine mate, black and glossy, and they nested in the hedge by the lane and reared a clutch of young. Right now she picks and tosses aside the mulch as if rummaging for bargains at a sale.

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