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Showing posts from January, 2011

The Suitable Girl - Michelle McGrane

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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

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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

Taxonomy

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'.