Alison Brackenbury – The invitation

The invitation 

What are the things I have not done?
Driving America
seems clear and distant as the moon
when I stop my small car.
Through March’s dark, a message comes.
‘Do stay with us, and walk the Downs.’

So I reply, with caution, find
her father’s gravely ill.
Yet this joins all that falls behind,
not what is coming still,
how, hummed by bus through Sussex towns,
I climbed with Sasha up the Downs.

 

 

Alison Brackenbury’s latest collection is Then, Carcanet 2013.  Her next collection is due from Carcanet very early in 2016.  New poems can be read at her website:
www.alisonbrackenbury.co.uk

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Alison Brackenbury – The list

The list

One. Make sure you get up on time.
Two.  Not everything needs to rhyme.

Three. Do not fret on all she said,
till after coffee, heaped jam, bread.

But, as for cleaning, more is more,
resist the hoover.  That was four.

Five, carry water where the birds
fight and flourish, without words.

Then see the sky, all you have missed.
Light flies eastwards.  Scrap the list.

 

 

Alison Brackenbury’s latest collection is Then, Carcanet 2013.  Her next collection is due from Carcanet very early in 2016.  New poems can be read at her website:
www.alisonbrackenbury.co.uk

 

Alison Brackenbury – 1642

1642

Retired, I could research
our English Civil War.
Would digging pile dry earth
on all I knew before?
One street still holds a fair,
where it fought off a King.
Rocked in Cirencester

by siege-guns, weeks of noise,
quiet Lady X went mad,
unearthed her childhood toys,
lined dolls up till she died.
Faeries were frightened out.
In summer grass, men fell,
who asked for honest votes.

Welcome, the smiling King!
Less welcome, the spy state,
spaniels and secret police,
the whispers at the gate.
Research the Civil War?
Let heavy books be dropped
back in the archive, for
this war has never stopped.

 

 

Alison Brackenbury’s latest collection is Then, Carcanet 2013.  Her next collection is due from Carcanet very early in 2016.  New poems can be read at her website:
www.alisonbrackenbury.co.uk

Alison Brackenbury – Shanties

Shanties

So these were chanted on slave-ships.
Why did I not guess before?
Because I hide from just men’s rage,
can whistle softly, flick the page,
Shenandoah, O Shenandoah.

We count our own.  Though tears fall hot,
we do not go back for more.
Out of the dust, let small ghosts come
as quiet as spent uranium,
Shenandoah, good Shenandoah.

‘I love your daughter,’ sang the men,
hands on rope, some rough, some raw.
The colours arched above the rain,
they never sang so true again.
Shenandoah, O Shenandoah.

 

 

 

Alison Brackenbury’s latest collection is Then, Carcanet 2013.  Her next collection is due from Carcanet very early in 2016.  New poems can be read at her website:
www.alisonbrackenbury.co.uk