Poem of the day

Taxonomy

by Helen Macdonald

Wren. Full song. No subsong. Call of alarm, spreketh & ought

damage the eyes with its form, small body, tail pricked up & beak

                                                                                      like a hair

 

trailed through briars & at a distance scored with lime scent in the

                                                                                               nose

like scrapings from a goldsmith’s cuttle, rock alum & fair butter well-

                                                                                            temped

 

which script goes is unrecognised by this one, is pulled by the ear

in anger the line at fault is under and inwardly drear as a bridge in

                                                                                            winter

 

reared up inotherwise to seal the eyes through darkness, the bridge

                                                                                            speaks

it does not speak, the starlings speak that steal the speech of men, 

                                                                                         uc antea

 

a spark that meets the idea of itself, apparently fearless.

Ah cruelty. And I had not stopped to think upon it

 

& I had not extended it into the world for love for naught.

 

16 September

Guernica Poetica

by So Mayer

14 September

The Secret Name

by W. S. Graham

1

 

Whatever you’ve come here to get

You’ve come to the wrong place. It

(I mean your name) hurries away

Before you in the trees to escape.

 

I am against you looking in

At what you think is me speaking.

Yet we know I am not against

You looking at me and hearing.

 

If I had met you earlier walking

With the poetry light better

We might we could have spoken and said

Our names to each other. Under

 

Neath the boughs of the last black

Bird fluttered frightened in the shade

I think you might be listening. I

Listen in this listening wood.

 

To tell you the truth I hear almost

Only the sounds I have made myself.

Up over the wood’s roof I imagine

The long sigh of Outside goes.

 

2

 

I leave them there for a moment knowing

I make them act you and me.

Under the poem’s branches two people

Walk and even the words are shy.

 

It is only an ordinary wood.

It is the wood out of my window.

Look, the words are going away

Into it now like a black hole.

 

Five fields away Madron Wood

Is holding words and putting them.

I can hear them there. They move

As a darkness of my family.

 

3

 

The terrible, lightest wind in the world

Blows from word to word, from ear

To ear, from name to name, from secret

Name to secret name. You maybe

Did not know you had another

Sound and sign signifying you.

 

13 September

Hi Honey, I’m Home

by Rebecca Goss

Two soft packets of Marlboro on the sideboard 

and she knew he’d arrived. 

She lit one, moved to the table 

and saw SURPRISE written in spilt sugar. 

She couldn’t help thinking of flies. 

He was in bed for certain, waiting for her 

to join him in pseudo-sleep. 

Thinking of his mouth, she almost went upstairs, 

but telephoned her sister 

and arranged to meet in a Tapas bar. 

She added D and a question mark 

to his greeting on the table, 

picked up his cigarettes 

and left the front door open.

 

12 September

Chocolate Pudding

by Arlene Ang

The instructions in bold letters state:

Serves 6. I consider the powder mix and milk

cycling in the saucepan, like Megan’s representational

designs of lemon trees. She is six years old

and reconciled to wait up for dessert.

I’m not really sure which direction to stir

with the whisk, and she’s not exactly my niece.

 

Megan gives me lessons on her mother:

the stovetop is starry night, the plastic cup

is gas station, the woman waiting tables is America.

We discuss the basis of courage: it’s all

in the chocolate pudding, she says. In rare letters,

her mother once wrote it’s the only thing

Megan manages to keep down when she’s ill.

 

Later, I read the wanted ads aloud because

that’s what her mother recited nightly to help her sleep.

 

11 September

Lovesong

by Dennis Gould