3060 Chapters
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Medium 9781847770684

Our Neighbour

Elizabeth Jennings Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF
Medium 9781847770684

The Way of it

Elizabeth Jennings Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

The Way of it

When it is over or before it starts,

We know the strength of love.

It is so cool, this literature of hearts.

It lies in books. Only the pages move.

When blood is beating and the pulse unsteady

And eyes are gladly blurred,

When nouns we use are quite inept but ready,

We lose the wish for any nerveless word.

And yet, and yet, our whispered passion tells

Us that we should claim

A speech, a part. But we are somewhere else

And where we are is mapless with no name.

When fire is ashes and the hearth shows no

Burning we start to tell

Our history but cannot make it glow

Even though what we know we know so well.

Love, I stammer monosyllables.

The heart’s dictionary

Falls from my fingers. Tender vocables

Are crying out. We are the lock and key.

Channel Port Night

Boats signal nothing but night.

This English Channel port town is only eyes

Of green and red and yellow. Tide is in.

Waves keep calm. Only the gulls’ cries

Insist on being heeded. Now we begin

A dream-voyage under the light

Of little ships and houses. Being near

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Medium 9781847770684

Prose, 2000 (UD, uncatalogued)

Elizabeth Jennings Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF


A sonnet

It halts, it limps along, it cannot soar.

Try as it will, prose cannot reach the stars.

It knows about ambition, power and war

And lists the names of aeroplanes and cars.

It has much strength, it has an army and

Its military is well-trained and kept

At the ready. It can understand

The needs of reason. It has seldom slept.

But still all prose is limited and will

Keep to certain grounds and certain parks.

It does not know those secret stayings-still

On the large promises of light and dark

Poetry rises up and it can fill

All upper air and never leaves its marks.

Picture Galleries

A sonnet

In the picture-galleries of the mind

I can visit almost every day.

Paintings by Great Masters, yes, can find

Their style, their timelessness, their magic play.

And I can play with my own sense of time

And movement, juggle with the way I’ve gone

To the Sistine Chapel. I would climb

And marvel at what Raphael’s Rooms have done

For the human spirit. Memory

Is the larger mover here. I pay it great

Honour and I’m grateful I can say

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Medium 9781847770684

The Poem in Itself

Elizabeth Jennings Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

And doubt and by the purposes of chance

And yet I think our slow ways carried much

That you have missed – the guess, the wish, the glance.

The Poem in Itself

The poise of time. The history of speech.

Articulation. Subject brought to heel.

The poem is filled and animated, rich

With hints and hopes, with how you wish to feel.

It won’t be faked or ever forced. You must

Seek out its landscape even when it’s yours.

The attitude for you is total trust

Not of your own but of the poem’s powers.

It is a gift, a spell, a fabric wrought

Seamless. It also is a way to pray

By which I mean it’s ceremonious thought

Spoken through you. You must not let it stray.

It asks for silence sometimes, won’t be bought.

It’s given, yet commands you to obey.


You are two, you are seven, you are ten

And never more than fifteen years or so,

You are always seen as you were then.

Parents never notice what you grow

Into in your twenties, thirties, more.

They lose the sense of time, ignore the watch

And chiming clocks. When you have lost the score

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Medium 9781847770998


John Gallas Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

In the damp heat of the rested farm, in the steam-up of stale cow hay, the bulls reared their swelling boulder-rumps, the cows mooed softly, eyes half shut.

Midday rang, the stable-gang swept the stalls, filled them with hay, lavender, sage, that the cattle fretted with heavy chaw.

And the numb tough fingers of the milkers pulled down upon the hanging udders and clenched the dangling teats wantingly.


This evening, a huge blank sky, all strange, all air, cold with stars, all shut to men’s prayers – a huge blank sky came: a seen Forever stopped in its mirror.

Ice ringed this gold-and-silver endlessness, ice ringed its winds, its shorelines, its silence, its plains, its seas; ice that bit the far-off blue, where starlight shot its spears.

All unchanging still. The feel of iron, a vice screws up your heart, gloomy white, and fright grabs this winter, on and on, and a God-surprise in glacier glory.


In a low, narrow cellar, near a window of north-sent light, the cruses cooled the white pooled milk in their fat, red, earthen roundness.

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Medium 9781847770684

Works of Art

Elizabeth Jennings Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

He has antagonised so many people,

Argued with them and scoffed and cursed their views,

Few men or women come with pleasure now;

All are afraid, except his wife who must

Have kept the image of

Him being gentle, does not see he’s changed.

All meanings lie in fragments; explanations

Of motive – disappointment, love, revenge –

Are too far scattered to reveal a pattern.

Only his anger holds this man together

And keeps him safe within

The little circle no one dares to cross.

He has loved once with hands and eyes but now

Both are like useless tools. His hands are cunning

Only with his small pleasures, will not stretch

In love or trust. He hates, yet wants, our pity,

Having so little time

To find compassion for his own near death.

Works of Art

So often it appears like an escape,

That cool, wide world where even shadows are

Ordered and relegated to a shape

Not too intrusive and yet not too spare.

How easy it has seemed to wander deep

Into this world and find a shelter there.

Yet always it surprises. Nervous hands

Which make the first rough sketch in any art,

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Medium 9781847770684

Hospital Garden

Elizabeth Jennings Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF


That was a satisfaction of the sense –

That country where no reason reigned at all.

We heard the cries, we saw the apple fall.

This was how every animal begins.

I could put out my hand and touch the source

Of life; intensest pleasure filled my blood.

And then the waking-up: what conscience could

Restrain, it stopped. The throbbing water-course

Was dammed, the sense of drowning played a drum

Deep in my ears, then silence and I came

Like children to a country I could name

Because one trusted voice had whispered ‘Come’.

Hospital Garden

This is the first time I have been alone

For one whole month. Summer is really here

And silence too. Yes, you could drop a stone

Into the hazy, humming atmosphere.

They will return – the nurse, the patients too

And I must write down this before they come.

My inward needs and fears still stir and grow

Into a hideous and a nightmare form.

I am not drugged as all the others are.

My naked senses, totally awake,

Respond at once to pleasure and endure

Immediate pain. I know that I must make

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Medium 9781847770684

The Sitter

Elizabeth Jennings Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

Down and finished, such experience

May seem at times like perfect meditation

But words or images are what enchants,

What seemed like prayer was only concentration.

But all poets know that their best work is given

So they should not be thanked and they know too

That if a few lines hold a hint of Heaven

It can’t be forced if ever it rings true.

We don’t deserve it when somebody writes

Or says a verse of ours has helped so much,

We are surprised, for when a poem delights

Some power has given it a magic touch.

The Sitter

O for the selflessness a painter has

When he paints nakedness

With lack of lust even if hands may pass

Over a woman’s flesh to put her as

His picture needs. At any age the rest

Of us can’t help but feel

A touch of some desire, a hint of lust

And wish that we could watch as painters will

And children too but surely no one else.

The petty nastiness

Is that our own desires are also false

For we mind, when we’re old, if lust grows less.

Innocence is afar in every way,

In childhood and in myth.

We are deceived when wishing we could say

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Medium 9781847770684


Elizabeth Jennings Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

The map of memory and look upon

The orchard days of freedom. Love we learn

In many lessons and the darkest one

Is that which tells us that mankind must turn

Into his own betrayals, trust no man.

Ballad of War

Brutal and vigilant the watchers were,

Pale and lean and disciplined to hate.

They taught us fear because they knew white fear

So well. They stood as sentries at the gate.

Gate of the morning and the dawn’s endeavour,

Gate of the mind with fantasies and war,

Gate of sickness and unconquered fever,

Yet haven’t we known all such gates before?

The gate of birth and then the broken cord,

The gate of love and holding back from fear,

The gate of language and the golden word

Which speaking makes the lustre disappear?

Who are the watchers? Why won’t you reply?

Is the world sick? You turn away in dread.

What are those shadows widening the sky?

Where are the stars and is the new moon dead?


Clarify me, please,

God of the galaxies,

Make me a meteor,

Or else a metaphor

So lively that it grows

Beyond its likeness and

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Medium 9781885635273


Jack Christian Center for Literary Publishing ePub

In a yard of hollow trees
I could hear the echoes of smitten children.
I could hear their birdsong imitation.
I was wrapped up in a fraying blanket.
I was holstering a bad revolver.
I was adding cement to a pillow fort.
It was hard to see with the money over my eyes.
I had a spray can of paint and I was
hot on the trail of a bushwhacking tractor.
On my chest I wore a plastic star.
I’d set up camp on the cattle grate.
I was eulogizing a squirrel in a shoebox.
I was being lowered down in a pine box.
I was flying a balsawood airplane.
My mission was to gather the fog
that still hung between the rises in the meadow.
No one could see me in the magnolia.
I floated out on the silver water.
I shimmied up a yellow rope.
I did the snake dance for Saint Peter.
In the side mud, I lost my sandals.
I chose from a variety of cobweb dresses
in a gigantic forest. It was okay with me
to tend the fire inside the mountain forever.
Or, I was ready to eat dessert, after dessert, after dessert.
But I wanted to know how my friend Marc Kuykendall went.

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Medium 9781847772268

Life’s Blood

Ward, David C. Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF
Medium 9781847770684

Morning Decision

Elizabeth Jennings Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

They only guide and in the morning I

Marked in my mind that place, hot springs with no

Healing or warming powers. I pass them by

But are they tamed? Turning away won’t do

Enough assuaging, I am worn with fight

Yet in me is the pressure to renew.

I feel dimension, growth, accept the right

Not of a passive being but of one

Who knows their rage and all that it can do

And, peacefully powerful, wills it all undone.

Morning Decision

All night lying tossing and loathing and dare I

Tell you how fast love seethed to hatred? Will I

Wound you further by what could be selfish confession,

This need to unload a guilt?

I ask this suitably grey and raining morning

Which is more important – to let you hear

The truth of me or deceive you and keep you happy?

Quickly a little wisdom comes as the sun does,

As the birds sing their own late dawn.

If I do not speak you will, as always, guess,

And if without further probing of self I show

My truth in speech, love will increase since you know

Me as the sun is concerned with the earth and as birds

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Medium 9780253006325

Practically with the Band

Norbert Krapf Quarry Books ePub

The Fiddler

Once taking a walk

beneath trees in Lockerbie Square,

near the James Whitcomb Riley House,

I heard the sound of a fiddle.

I looked around and up

and saw an opening of sky

and heard the sounds

of a dance in an old barn.

My father, a teenager,

was playing the fiddle

and friends and relatives

were clapping and dancing

and horses were tied

outside the barn and there

was beer in dark bottles

and white lightning

in a clear jug that made

the rounds and rose to

many lips and my father's

bow scraped across the strings.

As the rhythm of his tune

raced faster and faster

women's dresses whirled

and men's feet stamped

and there was one yee-haw

after another on a Saturday

night as the grin on my father's

face stretched wide as the sky.

Goodnight, Irene

Somewhere in my childhood

I hear Leadbelly singing

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Medium 9781574412420


Richard Carr University of North Texas Press PDF
Medium 9781847770684


Elizabeth Jennings Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF


What we have not written, what we have

Not worked for will come back

Reproaching us for waste. We tease the time,

Empty the home of riches. Will there be

Stanzas that never found

A mind, a page that wound

Unseen and ignorantly as rivers go

Slowly to the sea?

Yes, there’ll be harbours which

Never received our ships. We don’t put down

Anchors enough or reach

Rich cities waiting or the bartering town.

Something we could grow rich

Upon we’ll find we somehow left undone.

Yet wasting time can be a way to loaf

And not be waste indeed. The mind requires

Time to stand aside, rather like love,

Continuing after the quick desires

Craving for their own dark satisfaction.

Love does not beg. And so with poetry

What volumes are enough

When half of life is dreaming and half action?

By the Sea

I have seen seas so still

That I could well believe

There was no sea at all.

But I have also seen

Great horses rearing up

And rushing down upon

The well-marked sand. Yes I

Know every mood and tense

Of tides. I was born by

The sea. I know its pulse

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