Carrie Etter – Two Poems

Arcadia, or Something Like It


after Bob Dylan’s “Who Killed Davey Moore?” and Virgil’s first eclogue

Before everyone excused themselves of the boxer’s death,
Arcadia, or something like it, prospered. Two shepherds met
under a beech’s ample canopy.

One, prostrate on the summer grass, spoke in the drawl of leisure.
The other stood with his back against the sun; he spoke
of the soldiers gifted with his land

and lamented his imminent emigration.
The pipe-player replied with apples, chestnuts,

curdled milk, the bounty that would satisfy
those who were sated.


Soporific Red


The high street reddens with holiday,
and in your want of a rudder, the abundant dye
seeps upward, colours your trouser cuffs.
Already you wonder whether you’ll have to pay
for the unordered dish, the neighbourhood flavour.
Already you’re keen to roll it on your tongue.
On the fifth day of rain, home truths
seem irrelevant. It’s a soporific red
divining the high street, blinding your hands.
It’s a siren, ineluctable, inaudible, at your ear.

American poet Carrie Etter has lived in England since 2001 and taught creative writing at Bath Spa University since 2004. She has published three collections of poetry: The Tethers (Seren, 2009), winner of the London New Poetry Prize, Divining for Starters (Shearsman, 2011) and Imagined Sons (Seren, 2014); she also edited the anthology Infinite Difference: Other Poetries by UK Women Poets (Shearsman, 2010). Individual poems have appeared in Boston Review, The New Republic, The New Statesman, Poetry Review, The Times Literary Supplement, and many other journals worldwide. She also reviews contemporary poetry, most recently for The Guardian and Warwick Review. More information is available on her blog at Arcadia, or Something Like It and Soporific Red were both first published in The Tethers (Seren, 2009).