The London Magazine has republished online the first poem Kate published in a literary magazine. It presently shares a page with poems also first published in The London Magazine by Keats and Ted Hughes.
‘At the Root of the Wind is Strife (according to Empedocles)’ has been Highly Commended in The Observances and will appear in the 2016 Forward Prize Anthology to be published in September 2015.
It’s not every day the river
offers up a bucket but here’s a pail,
pale blue. For an hour we fill it
with the river’s clutter, handles, pipes,
blue and white china, tumbled
glass, a cap badge.
Loaded, and we stink of mud, we turn to go
back along the beach but the beach has gone.
The tide’s sneaked up behind a bend
close by us, slip-slapping on the river-wall.
It snaps at your red boots,
and since you are a metre tall,
its hunger makes me also feel small, endangered,
startled as an animal, driven to scale
the weed-hung wall.
You swing yourself over the parapet
and pointing to the bucket in displeasure,
chatter like a marmoset. I have it, yes,
but to follow you and bring it too
I’ve jettisoned the best
part of your treasure.
Published in the Times Literary Supplement on 12 February, this is one of three poems from The Observances to catch the light of day just before the book is out.
The Rialto 82, due early Spring 2015, will include ‘Every Book is a Long Walk’ under the influence of Thomas Mann’s Buddenbrooks.
This poem appears in the forthcoming issue of Ambit, January 2015.
It is based on a tiny self-portrait by Leon Cogniet, newly arrived at the Villa Medici in Rome on a scholarship, reading the first letter from home. The painting is in Cleveland Museum of Art and can be found if you google. Cogniet later became director of the Ecole de Beaux Arts, the most prestigious French art school, and encouraged his sister Marie Amelie to head a teaching studio where women might also train as figurative artists, learning to draw from the life model as men were allowed to do.
Kate’s poem ‘Salvage’ has been selected for Best British Poetry 2013 (Salt Publications, Nov 2013) available now from bookshops. Meanwhile the new Ambit 215, published end of January 2014, includes her poem ‘Bouquet’, marking a young woman’s loss of her lover in WW1. Kate will be at the Ambit launch at The Sun and Thirteen Cantons, Gt Pulteney Street, Soho, on Thursday 30 January.
At the request of a person browsing in Dulwich Books who had heard this poem read on an Irish radio programme here is Naming the Rain in the Gaeltacht written in summer 2007 and first published in the Irish poetry journal, THE SHOp, no. 28, Autumn 2008.
The rains, different every day, different according to the light and the wind speed across Brandon Bay, were incredibly varied in their effects on lanes and tracks and on our forays into the landscape.
Naming the Rain
In your tongue there are thirteen words for rain,
so tell me one
to match the clumsy rush of wet that whooshes
up the lane, inflating and detaching
hedges’ awnings, upsetting fuchsia’s red umbrellas, hurling slip-slop
scoops of honeysuckle,
cramming mouths of field drains with meadowsweet,
and maybe it’s the same
along the coast road, up-flung salted spray which whitens
shoes, rusts bikes, burnishes and buffs
tarmac to mirrors.
Early summer mornings, there’s a rain that sweeps
the bay, rounds up sea-mist,
herds its water into corries
in the saddle of Mount Brandon.
And can you name this rain that whistles, reedy, low,
a tune that wakes us
to no field, tide-line, roof or peak?
For while we slept it rained away
the world that called us to the window.