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Monday, 11 December 2017


There are many others, of course, but here’s a short selection In no particular order:

Crow by Ted Hughes
Faber 1972

‘He tried ignoring the sea
But it was bigger than death, just as it was bigger in life.’
Crow and the Sea

Sentenced to Life by Clive James
Picador 2015

‘Tired out from getting up and getting dressed
I lie down for a while to get some rest,
And so begins another day of not
Achieving much except to dent the cot.’
Elementary Sonnet

North by Seamus Heaney
Faber 1975

‘As if he has been poured
in tar, he lies
on a pillow of turf
and seems to weep
the black river of himself.’
The Grauballe Man

Poems by Agatha Christie
Collins 1973

‘The fairies talk to little girls,
They push aside their golden curls
And whisper in a shell-pink ear
But what they say we cannot hear.’
From a Grown-up to a Child

Market Street by Damian Smyth
Lagan Press 2010

‘It was over in seconds, a total waste of a good man.
The shop was there from 1896 and had a language all its own.
A “footprint” – a plumber’s wrench; “bastard” for rough files;
You could even buy bubbles for a spirit level.’
A Wrench from McMaster’s

How To Be Well-Versed In Poetry edited by E. O. Parrott
Penguin 1990

‘The eye rhyme
Is generally used by me
To show how you can rely
On foreign pronunciations to upset the applecart completely.’
Eye Rhymes by Paul Griffin

Domestic Flight by James Ellis
Lagan Press 1998

‘For better, worse, memory which serves us, right,
Or wrong – storehouse of being, well-spring
And fountainhead, recording and recounting
Sounds, odours, touch, taste, sight;
Yet fallible as flesh, and prone to error.’
Pictures In The Fire

The Rattle Bag edited by Seamus Heaney and Ted Hughes
Faber 1982

‘There was this road,
And it led up-hill,
And it led down-hill
And round and in and out.
And the traffic was legs,
Legs from the knees down,
Coming and going,
Never Pausing.’
The Legs by Robert Graves

A number of years ago, I would have automatically included one of Roger McGough’s books
but, sadly in my view, the poems don’t really stand the test of time, entertaining as they are.

And finally, one I am reading at the moment:

On Balance by Sinead Morrissey
Carcanet 2017

‘No matter the shift, the only food he’d take with him
down the pit was bread and jam, two slices wrapped up
in greaseproof paper, and a bottle of gone-cold tea.’

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