North-east wind gnaws my fingers to ivory
sinks incisors into the sutures of my skull
sucks greedily on the marrow of my cheekbones;
and I could easily have got the bus.
But no, I'm walking, so as not to miss
my favourite tree, here, now, on the corner.
Early prunus -- is it cerasifera? -- but for sure
it's a sudden starburst, a milky way
against iceblue sky; and me standing here
never mind the cold, no longer hunched
against the wind, but gazing up, up
-- as I used to as a child, not living in towns
knowing the arc of the sky, the rise of spring
constellations, the swing of seasons --
till I feel the earth spin on its axis.
6pm, 25 February 2004SUITCASE WITH SANDSTONE
I've come home to a terraced house, and I've brought
a pink marzipan castle with me. It fits
inside my head, but won't fit into the space
between these walls. I look out of the window
straight onto the back of the opposite house;
and I'm pushing cliffs, trees, caves, a sheer
drop to the river valley, into the lane between.
They won't go in. In spite of the deep gorge
scoring it, the memory won't fold up,
the trees bristle and get in the way. And there's no
room for the birds, that I watched from above
on the springs of thermals, with the sun on their backs.
Here I've only the little birds at ground level,
jackdaws and gulls on ridgepole and phonewire
and a castle in the air inside my head.
6.50 pm 14 April
THE LAST ECLOGUE
(i. m. Miklós Radnóti, poet
shot by the Nazis, November 1944)
In the wrong country
he remembers home.
Under the wrong soil
home is with him,
safe in his pocket
on that forced march.
The death-stained voice
of the notebook, its pages tight closed,
guards his words with the juice of his dying.
Its mouth is choked
with damp earth and blood. It will speak
again, its lips tenderly opened,
telling us who he was and is, interpreting.
Not voiceless, not silenced,
he springs up, singing.
Poetryetc is a listserv relating to poetry and poetics which provides a forum for poets to debate their critical and creative work. The list has over the years run a number of projects for its members, of which Snapshots has been the most enduring.
Every Wednesday, Poetryetc members were invited to post short poems on any subject or in any form they chose. The idea was to make a poetic collage of instamatic snaps of that day that reflected the international membership of the list. The project has generated an astounding number of poems.
The first two runs, of six weeks each, and the first ten weeks of the third run, are archived at Wild Honey Press www.wildhoneypress.com under Poetryetc Project. The rest - amounting in all to a run of a year - are archived here.
Poetryetc, like its affiliate Salt Publishing (http://www.saltpublishing.com), was founded by Australian poet John Kinsella. Salt is managed by Christopher Hamilton-Emery (firstname.lastname@example.org), while Poetryetc is owned by Alison Croggon (email@example.com). Poetryetc is now archived at
http://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/lists/poetryetc.html. and anyone interested can join from that url.
To contact the listowner: Alison Croggon
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