Showing posts from January, 2011

The Suitable Girl - Michelle McGrane

I'm delighted to be able to post a poem from Michelle McGrane's recent collection 'The Suitable Girl', published by Pindrop Press.

Princesse de Lamballe

He skewers my matted, blonde head on a pike,
shows me the city's less-fêted sights:
growling alleys and ravenous back streets
guttered with urine, nightsoil and vermin;
toothless, frayed women queuing for bread,
each coarse, weevilled loaf fourteen copper sous;
the Hôpital des Quinze-Vingt's shuffling inmates
tapping for alms amid the stalls of Les Halles;
Saint-Marcel tanneries' frame-stretched hides
kneaded supple with beef greaves and brains;
the Seine choked with debris and tangled milfoil,
a carcass sliding into the Pont Neuf's shadows.

The Queen's playing tric-trac in the tower,
twenty guards flanking the Temple's iron portal.
She's raised the stakes, the bone dice clattering
across the pearwood and ebony board.
The scrofulous sans-culotte belting Ça Ira
braces my face to the crosshatched casing,
my fract…

Two poems by Mark Burnhope

Our Jonah of Boscombe Pier
after Z. Herbert

We will say this for him: at least
he had enthusiasm. That whale
was beached for so much time,
signs were raised. Keep off the rough
barnacled blubber. Those are teeth,
not baleen for benign filtration.

I can only speculate: he walked
Leviathan’s crash-mat spine, nearly
plugged the blowhole with a boot,
for he wished to re-enter into
those magisterial tales of whales
and the men who swallowed them.

Animal Studies


We used to call bits of our house
by collective nouns –
idle of sofas, gleam of lamps, tinkle
of teaspoons – as they do for animals.

When she left, I willed every evening
to scuttle back under the gravel,
one day gathered a grief
of takeout leaflets, flung my fold
of furniture into the van,
moved to a one-man flat
in a town overrun with one-man flats

and released the whole – idle,
gleam, tinkle, grief, fold – resolved to call
them all by brand-new names.

Habitat Destruction

I walked the town’s greed of brick
and stone, its slip of malls
with their b…

December Poems

A belated round up: One poem included in Ink Sweat & Tear's The Twelve Days of Christmas, alongside such great poets as Penelope Shuttle, Simon Barraclough and David Morley; and another in the same webzine a few days earlier titled 'The Downs'.