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Louise Gluck's Faithful and Virtuous Night shortlisted for TS Eliot Prize!
Carcanet is delighted to announce that US poet Louise Gluck 's collection Faithful and Virtuous Night has been shortlisted for the 2014 TS Eliot Prize !† read more
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An Aviary of Small Birds An Aviary of Small Birds Karen McCarthy Woolf
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Poem of the Day

The dialectics of love and uncles

Karen Press

          All the way down there are conditions
          to fall over the edge of, expeditions
          of cells ferning in turns curving on
          down over the edge and falling on
          over the farther edge.

A serious bird pecks at the scruff of a winter palm
the day after its feathery intentions have unfolded, calmly
triangulating Darwin and Marx two billion years along God's graph.
Between mouthfuls, a claw intercepts some dust from a transitory planet's path
and whirls its way into a dragon's seed.
Nothing will ever be the same again in that family.

Necessary if not sufficient, this bifurcating hour
digs a road through history and a tower,
frothing in diamond drops over the edge of order.
Like a tiara unravelling, said the queen's warder.

And oh, my love, this crystal fire makes you more warm
than anything my breast has known these many centuries.
Stay with me as my words fly through the waterfall.
A breath to left or right could wake the dragon's need
uncurling in a fresh grain of time.

Now here its uncle is again, this memory of a dinosaur,
fat-voiced on a cold day, triumphant over the cousin on the sour-berried tree.
Stuck on the dispossessed tendril of the graph, all he can hope for
is a fractal kiss turning him like a key.

Still you continue unfurling your strange attractors,
the ones the ants around the sugar bowl obey,
curving up the edge of upwards -
and I the sugar in the ants' tears,
tumbling out along my own spiralling love
up over the upwards of your unmapped laughter.
Taken from 'New Poetries II'...
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