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Matt Miller University of North Texas Press PDF
Medium 9781574413090

XII. Women’s Studies

Caki Wilkinson University of North Texas Press PDF
Medium 9781847770684

Welcoming Spring

Elizabeth Jennings Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

How I write. ‘Do poems come easily?’

‘Do form and subject come quite separately

Or both at once?’ More probing, ‘Tell us why

You write in verse, not prose.’ Always I try

To answer simply though part of my mind

Reflects, ‘At your age I was reading Keats,

Not someone living.’ Then I read more poems

Which do not feel like any part of me.

Next I tell you there’s much luck for poets

Using the English tongue. Now the talk gets

More personal but in a kindly way.

I’m thinking what a world we’ve made for you.

Your love of poems will not earn you a living,

And then – no nonsense here – our spirits seem

To meet and I am learning something of

Your quick responsibility, your giving

So much to me now that is part of love.

Welcoming Spring

Give me new words for Spring. There must be some.

Delight wells up in me. I’m almost drunk

To see the daffodil and crocus bloom

And a huge cloudless sky. Winter has slunk

Away, a guilty thing that is ashamed

It came among us darkening each good mood.

We let it go like a small pang we dreamed

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For Melody

Elizabeth Jennings Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

For Melody

Such sweetness of sound, such

Melody just within

Hearing. I try to catch

The harmony, begin

A statement of life and death,

A concord in troubled years.

The trumpet demands strong breath

But the harp means tears.

Two Musics

There are two musics, one

Of human happiness,

Its pain and rapture, its joy at things well done.

But there is another utterly different which

Sings purely its own success,

Cries out of its own triumphant assertions. It is

The echo of a voice in the universe,

It knows neither joys nor fears

But takes them up and turns them into itself,

The delighted, exacting, wholly absorbing sound

Of the music of the spheres.

All that Departing

All that departing and parting

And the wounding others and lonely recrimination.

I learnt very early gifted children are many

And none is very special.

I learnt early too the pain that imagination

Can cause but its joys were vast and the time was now

And only now, it was a circular thing,

It was often a golden ring

In which my spirit danced and I was excited,

Much too excited and could not pause or sleep,

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20 at Richmond Community Policing Centre

Gallas, John Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF
Medium 9781847772442

The Nutcracker

Stallworthy, Jon Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

The Nutcracker for Isaiah Berlin

My story? Yes, I got my story though not the one I was assigned.

It was a Voyage of Discovery all right, but of another kind.

The latest Russian Revolution was no sooner known than it – whoosh – uncorked Moscow like shaken champagne, filled Red Square to the brim again with chanting thousands. When Apollo appeared on the balcony, they let out a shout heard miles away.

He made a speech I couldn’t follow but knew would be a press release before I had to write my piece.

A theme for Shostakovich: Russia’s

Columbus, orbiting the earth alone for 90 minutes, ushers the space-age in. At such a birth

Siberian stars should sing hosannas, not children with Gagarin banners.

Flags licked his face all afternoon.

Later, beneath a carnival moon,

I went to someone’s celebration and there, at the turn of a head, a whisper, I was rocketed beyond hope – dread – imagination –

I’m telling this the wrong way. I’m afraid I must go back in time before the war, to days we’ve chosen not to discuss. Imagine me emerging – into air like frozen vodka – from the wagon-lit at Moscow station. January

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Felix Culpa

Caki Wilkinson University of North Texas Press PDF

Felix Culpa

Without a hitch, the ice cream maker churns in whirling jerks that shake the mirrored tray of geometric cheese and crudités.

Another bride-to-be stands clueless—Blessed, she says, thanking her hosts, who take the hint and raise their glasses. It’s good company save for no-see-ums and humidity, nothing they can’t survive. With funeral fans and empty cones, they crowd the patio like a life raft, concurrent conversations adrift in genteel reconciliations—

Let’s get together sometime. Out front, groups of subdivision kids retrace their loops around the cul-de-sac. Most sacrifice control for speed and flout the good advice of partygoers—careful!—who don’t know a prank will overturn their evening plans: they lean on the verisimilitude of a table held with half its screws unscrewed, the rest clinking like milk money with lint inside the prankster’s pocket—she, a guest of guests, who’s looking forward to the crash and unicycles past with crack panache, ecstatic that the ice cream maker churns.

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For Any Newish Poet

Elizabeth Jennings Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

He wants all men to share his appetite

For truth. It is a way of life, a choice

Of how to be and know. He claims no right

But tries to be a civilised, true voice.

For Any Newish Poet

There is this habit now of nonchalance –

One writes of death but doesn’t use the word.

They might allow the words ‘a dance of death’

Or something overheard.

There is this habit of concealing art:

You do not say you fear and let alone

Love anyone. You have, of course, a heart

But now it is not done

To say you care. O yes but English verse

Comes echoing back: ‘I am behind the art

I am the feeling when you love to curse,

I am the vital part

Of everything you write.’ Remember Yeats,

Don’t forget Auden’s perfect adjective

So unexpected. English poetry waits

Always for you to give

What feels like novelty. The new is so

Resistant. Never mind. Dare to allow

The word that leaps to mind. O let it grow

And be part of your now.

Prayer: Homage to George Herbert

George Herbert said it all. All I can do

Is show my hesitancies now and try

To fit my different, later words into

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5 the Seawasp

Gallas, John Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF
Medium 9781847770684


Elizabeth Jennings Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

Dare I dare what all the wise men told at the deep past half covered up in cloud?

I would attach a purpose to the world

But some unfocussed fear keeps me in cold

And in the rootless moods

Which add to dark. But Spring is almost here

And air is opening for songs and breeze.

In seasons’ patient repetitions there

Are hintings of a life without a lease.

Why should this coax out fear?



And all our attempts to fob them off, to stay

The tide’s impulse, wind’s pressure and the hard

Demands of senses, but the pollen flies,

Birds brood on South, but hearts cannot migrate

Or not until love dies.


When space fits time. The lucid lily, full

Rose stand up and gardens are intentions

To make at least one thing whole, ardent, good,

But we who are our impulses forget

Even our best hopes, jostled by conventions

Until the last regret.


The child knows it first and it is then

He comes into the world of ice and snow

That freeze and never thaw. To be a man

Needs a betrayal. So the child will go

From total trust to doubt and always when

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Children in the Square

Elizabeth Jennings Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

Only I have changed while he

With neither epilogue nor prologue

Has time in his net caught

As the mind holds a thought.

Children in the Square

I play now with the thought of being a child

As children in the square below me play

Soldiers or emperors, play at being me.

Almost we reach each other and convey

Ourselves almost into the other’s world.

Theirs is the large and the complete success

Since wholly built by them. But I because

I have been in the square indeed like them

Must build from facts, must take my present theme

Not from imagination but from time.

They make a future from suggestions, hints,

While I must reconstruct my innocence.

Children are still in the square and I am here:

It is not I but they who have the power

To offer back a childhood to share.

Passive I let them play at being me.

And slip into their country by that way.

Poem in Winter

Today the children begin to hope for snow

And look in the sky for auguries of it.

It is not for such omens that we wait,

Our world may not be settled by the slow

Falling of flakes to lie across our thought.

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Better than a Protest

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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The Best Defense

Matt Miller University of North Texas Press PDF

The Best Defense

Dragonflies cut black and red across the blue-tipped afternoon above a mown to gold October grass that’s being trampled under the cleats of big grunting boys.

The old line coach climbs the back of the six-man blocking sled.

His eyes are hidden by silver sunglasses, his face shadowed by a hat, his arms wrapped in long grey sleeves. He needs to keep the sun from his skin, to keep in his gut his morning blast of chemo sick. The boys crouch, four-point stances, one boy per each bag slung over iron slabs curving up from the ground.

At the coach’s sudden whistle they lunge like starving dogs.

Feet drive and dig into dirt.

Thick, scabbed hands punch up into the bags. Two tons of red iron reels up and back.

The coach leans into it and blasts the whistle. The boys drop to the ground, backwards onto their asses, and spin left, rolling back up into stances in front of another bag and fire out again as the next blow shrills the air. Blood, sudden but not unexpected, trickles, unnoticed by the players,

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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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Deepsea Diver

Elizabeth Jennings Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

This is the place to fall

To reason, here to learn no mile

Beyond which you may step.

You lie between the hills and sea

To grow what you can be,

Your only aspiration looking up.

Afternoon in Florence

This afternoon disturbs within the mind

No other afternoon, is out of time

Yet lies within a definite sun to end

In night that is in time. Yet hold it here

Our eyes, our minds, to make the city clear.

Light detains no prisoner here at all

In brick or stone but sends a freedom out

Extends a shadow like a deeper thought,

Makes churches move, once still,

Rocking in light as music rocks the bell.

So eyes make room for light and minds make room

For image of the city tangible.

We look down on the city and a dream

Opens to wakefulness, and waking on

This peace perpetuates this afternoon.

Deepsea Diver

Strange above water he is exiled in

The freedom of the air, the kinder sea

Was guardian of his thought, explained his will

In terms of fish and tides. Islands begin

Insisting upon choice and he is full

Of loss, uneasy wondering what to love.

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