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A Cloudless Sky

Michael Dickman

‘A cloudless sky and I’m back / an ice-cold sky-blue rag / for my eyes’

Advice Column

Kazim Ali

‘Me always untorn and enslaved / Weird notions of gender and ground / Nothing but you between me and god.’

Apparition

Mark Doty

‘an orange plastic basket of compost / down from the top of the garden – sweet dark, / fibrous rot, promising’

At Thirty

Paula Bohince

‘At thirty, I fled from my life / in a hailstorm and firestorm’

Blue Sky Thinking

Gillian Clarke

‘Let’s do this again, ground the planes for a while and leave the runways to the racing hare.’

Coronation

Gillian Allnutt

‘We waited quietly for the Queen who wasn’t there’

Demeter

Fiona Benson

‘I head down the path hoping she’ll come / but when I look back she’s gone and my own voice / snags at her name like barbed wire on skin.’

Hang It Up

Anne Carson

‘hang up your blood cell phone mr white slaver’

Midnight on Lake Michigan

Diego Báez

‘But really, your disappearance / has never been a question of whether.’

On Jupiter Place

Nicholas Christopher

‘I didn’t know who she was anymore / maybe I never did or could –’

Opening Invocation

Jean-Paul de Dadelsen

‘Or otherwise, leaving the shore of the intermediate sea, / has it been a while since they’ve gone ahead / into the interior of lands of the spirit?’

Pay Attention

Sophie Cabot Black

‘I can only do what is here. But you / Have an entire congregation of choice’

Picnic

Emily Berry

‘Watching the sea is like watching something in pieces continually striving to be whole / Imagine trying to pick up a piece of the sea and show it to a person / I tried to do that.’

Postscript

John Burnside

'the trees / are slender in the way that things / are almost, though not quite / absent'

Promenading

Chris Emery

A poem by Chris Emery, taken from his forthcoming collection The Departure.

Self-Portrait as Amnesiac

John Burnside

‘Shoeboxes lined with eggs and empty / pomegranates drying in a bowl, / mousebones and wicker, chess pieces, muddled coats.’

Solitude

Huang Canran

‘Two friends, who hadn’t met in a year / sat chatting in a house.’

The Day Etta Died

John Burnside

‘I was marking a stack of essays / on Frank O’Hara / and each had a Wiki- / paragraph to say / who Genet was.’

The Lady and the Skull

Angela Carter

‘In just such an emblematic a fashion / The world takes on / Human form.’

The Making of the English Landscape

Simon Armitage

It’s too late now to start collecting football shirts,/bringing them back from trips abroad as souvenirs:

The More We Think About It

Michael Earl Craig

‘Yeah, something has slapped us. / We have definitely seen something.’

The Mountain

Christopher DeWeese

‘When the oxygen thins, / the world gets less reciprocal.’

The Old Fuel

Emily Berry

‘And I'm / cranking out oodles of love the way an old spaghetti machine / cranks out spaghetti.’

The Woman in the Moon

Carol Ann Duffy

‘Darlings, I write to you from the moon’

Toboggan Run

Fiona Benson

‘What would I give / to be one of those swimmers in all this snow, / swallowed by the cold and the night’s strange radiance?’

Two Poems

Niall Campbell

‘And so, last night, so cold, I listened to / the floorboards warp in the unwelcome heat.’

Two Poems

Sean Borodale

‘To be honest, this is dark stuff; mud, tang / of bitter battery-tasting honey. The woods are in it.’

Two Poems

Kaddy Benyon

‘Sometimes I am so afraid my envy / will hack at your figs, strawberries, / or full-bellied beans, I dig my fists / into my pockets and nip myself.’

Two Poems

Paula Bohince

‘What sparrows come, / come briefly, briefly displacing / the nothingness.’

Two Poems

Eric Anderson

‘Wanting to get it all in, like / Xerxes tipping his army’s arrows / with saltpeter / so to ignite the Grecian sky.’

Two Poems

John Balaban

‘Her mother planted a garden in Manhattan. / In that garden is a tree. Some look on it and feel restored. / Others, when the wind lifts its leaves, want to scream.’

What the Doctor Said

Raymond Carver

‘He said are you a religious man do you kneel down / in forest groves and let yourself ask for help.’