Poem of the week: Animal Planet by Ana Blandiana

A plainly spoken reflection on a violent, guilty world adds up to a kind of ‘anti-prayer’ that does not rule out belief

Animal Planet

Less guilty, though not innocent,
In this universe where
The laws of nature decide
Who should kill whom
And whoever kills most is king.
How admiringly they film
The placid and ferocious lion as it tears a fawn to pieces!
And whenever I close my eyes or switch off the telly,
I feel that I participate less in the crime,
Even though the candle of life
Will always need blood to go on burning –
The blood of another.

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Poem of the week: Poem for Professor Frye by Nausheen Eusuf

A playful appropriation of some deliberately clunky metaphors manages to find startling life in them

Poem for Professor Frye

… ‘the pale dawn of longing’, ‘the broken collar-bone of silence’, ‘the massive eyelids of time’, ‘the crimson tree of love’. I have made these up myself, and they are free to any poet who wants them …
Northrop Frye, Anatomy of Criticism

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Poem of the week: Husk by Margot Armbruster

A strikingly accomplished work from a 16-year-old poet reflects on the resonances of anorexia with religious fasting

Husk

How did we ever get here? I have been measuring
my worth in etched wrists for so long I think my bones
are made of aspartame. Or plum blossom. Can I
gain solubility, dissolve? Can I become entirely blood?
Viscera. Cold palms pressed against
my back. Ribs. Ankles, spine. This resembles a checklist
but is more truly a prayer. A prayer offered
in the rain with a headache behind my eyes.
A prayer offered propped against the car with trembling
hands. Some Magnificat for vivisection. He hath filled
the hungry with good things. Communion wine burns
on an empty stomach. Lord, have I already martyred
myself for skinny jeans? What if I wake up a husk,
made clean and dry by sunlight? What if I wake up
as sunlight itself, yellow and sharp and hard?

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Poem of the week: They (may forget (their names (if let out))) by Vahni Capildeo

A brilliantly energetic and inventive sonnet bounds into the mind of a not entirely domesticated pet dog

petcitement incitement of a pet to excitement
petcitement incitement into the excitement
of being a pet petcitement incitement to be
a pet a fed pet a fleece pet incitement to be
a floorpet a fleapit a carpet a polkadot
blanket pet blanket pet answer brass doorbell what name
tin waterbowl what name thrilled vomitfall polkadot
padded on patted on turded on welcome mat name
turns to no-one’s reminder walks wilder walks further
downriver from calling calling owner predator
who that who tagalong meaner whose canines further
from food fleece floor flea cloth car poll card dot blank bit door
no no owner owns in nomine domini pet
outruns petfetch petcome will wild default reset.

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Poem of the week: Old Poem by Anonymous, translated by Arthur Waley

The bare scene that greets an old soldier returning from long service is understated but deeply affecting

At fifteen I went with the army,
At fourscore I came home.
On the way I met a man from the village,
I asked him who there was at home.
“That over there is your house,
All covered over with trees and bushes.”
Rabbits had run in at the dog-hole,
Pheasants flew down from the beams of the roof.
In the courtyard was growing some wild grain;
And by the well, some wild mallows.
I’ll boil the grain and make porridge,
I’ll pluck the mallows and make soup.
Soup and porridge are both cooked,
But there is no-one to eat them with.
I went out and looked towards the east,
While tears fell and wetted my clothes.

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Poem of the week: Our Old Lady of the Rain by Jane Commane

In this elegiac poem, a ghostly goddess lingers in derelict factories, ‘a Midas inside-out’ who represents industrial decline and ruin

Our Old Lady of the Rain by Jane Commane

She was older, iron-tasting tang,
the smell of damp girders about her.
She’d had blueprints once, hundreds of them,
kept in a plan chest, maplewood drawers
as wide as a kitchen table, and as deep.

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Poem of the week: Our Old Lady of the Rain by Jane Commane

In this elegiac poem, a ghostly goddess lingers in derelict factories, ‘a Midas inside-out’ who represents industrial decline and ruin

Our Old Lady of the Rain by Jane Commane

She was older, iron-tasting tang,
the smell of damp girders about her.
She’d had blueprints once, hundreds of them,
kept in a plan chest, maplewood drawers
as wide as a kitchen table, and as deep.

Continue reading...