Issue 2: Vona Groarke

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.