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The Difficult Poem

               - “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”

The August that finds me
in a gifted cottage
with marooned windows
and a fuchsia half-door

leads me to believe
Einstein was right.

I have already foregone
my book on bliss.

Next to go is a poem
about Ogham stitches
on a suicide’s wrist

in favour of
a 30-minute cassette,
Christmas Music 1998.

The Huddersfield Choral Society Youth Choir’s
“Joy to the World”
does for the rusty-hinged donkey bray.

“Silent Night” resolves the issue
of summertipsy dusk

and midges swarm
amid winter’s snow.

What was the problem
with that sonnet
about rain in the sycamore?

It centered on my use of “froth”.
That is all I can remember.


The Box

Nightly, the open plan of this last house
pulses and contracts. We pass nights
between us, draw-strung, written on;
whole hours assigned to music that folds
them into discreet forms like origami birds.

It is not our fault that what you play
opens and closes boxes of water
like the lighthouse in your dream;
that one is lying on its side; that all
the years we lived here drain away.


Orchard with Lovers

She has a dress of sequined apples,
eyelids glossed in burnish
borrowed from the tracery
of a thousand leaves.

Gilded in afternoons,
absorbed in vermillion
evenings sworn to love,
she could be a trick of the light

except that her lover’s eye steadies her
from a kindred darkness
that will vouchsafe
the outcome of desire.

For now, his buckle is intimate
with the glint of her hairpin.
His shirt answers the faintest whim
of rapture in her hands.

This art makes children of them.

Though the trees sweep the sky
of the dust of centuries,
of narrow workrooms
and pointillist lamps;

though filigree streets ornament
their ends and purposes;
though the foliage shimmers
all its absolved suns,

there is no question of harm.

The light between trees
is a hall composed of screens
that close over, nightly. There,
we leave them, wishful and enamoured

as the loved world asks them to be.


[Vona Groarke's fifth collection of poems, Spindrift, will be published later this year. She teaches at the Centre for New Writing at the University of Manchester.]

Copyright © 2009 by Vona Groarke, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.