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Ice

Gillian Clarke

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Paperback
ISBN: 978 1 847771 99 5
Categories: 21st Century, Welsh, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: October 2012
64 pages
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: eBook (EPUB), eBook (Kindle)
  • Description
  • Excerpt
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  • Polar

    Snowlight and sunlight, the lake glacial.
    Too bright to open my eyes
    in the dazzle and doze
    of a distant January afternoon.

    It’s long ago and the house naps in the plush silence
    of a house asleep, like absence,
    I’m dreaming on the white bear’s shoulder,
    paddling the slow hours, my fingers in his fur.

    His eyes are glass, each hair a needle of light.
    He’s pegged by his claws to the floor like a shirt on the line.
    He is a soul. He is what death is. He is transparency,
    a loosening floe on the sea.

    But I want him alive.
    I want him fierce
    with belly and breath and growl and beating heart,
    I want him dangerous,

    I want to follow him over the snows
    between the immaculate earth and now,
    between the silence and the shot that rang
    over the ice at the top of the globe,

    when the map of the earth was something we knew by heart,
    and they had not shot the bear,
    had not loosed the ice,
    had not, had not…
    In Ice Gillian Clarke turns to the real winters of 2009 and 2010. In their extremity they redefined all the seasons for her. Nature asserted itself and renewed the environment for the imagination. The poem ‘Polar’ is the poet’s point de repère, evoking a polar-bear rug she had as a child and here resurrects in a spirit of personal and ecological longing that becomes a creative act. She lives with the planet, its seasons and creatures, in a joyful, anxious communion.

    The book also includes the ‘asked for’ and commissioned poems, and the Guardian spreads Clarke has written during her time as National Poet of Wales (2008 onwards). She follows in the rich millennium-old Welsh tradition of occasional writing going back to the first-known named British poets Aneirin and Taliesin in the sixth century.


    Gillian Clarke is one of the most widely respected and deeply loved poets in the world.
    Carol Ann Duffy, Poet Laureate
    Polar 
    Ice 
    Advent Concert 
    Winter 
    River
    Ice Music 
    Home for Christmas 
    Snow 
    White Nights 
    In the Bleak Midwinter 
    Hunting the Wren 
    Carol of the Birds 
    Freeze 1947 
    Freeze 2010 
    New Year 
    The Dead after the Thaw 
    Swans 
    Who Killed the Swan? 
    The Newport Ship 
    Eiswein 
    Thaw 
    Fluent 
    Nant Mill 
    Farmhouse 
    Taid 
    In Wern Graveyard 
    Lambs 
    The Letter 
    Grebes 
    Burnet Moths 
    Er Gwell, Er Gwaeth 
    Honesty 
    Bluebells 
    Between the Pages 
    Glâs 
    Small Blue Butterfly 
    Mango 
    Senedd 
    The Tree 
    Blue Sky Thinking 
    A Wind from Africa 
    Running Away to the Sea – 1955 
    Pheidippedes’ Daughter 
    Storm-Snake 
    Oradour, 10 June 1944 
    A Glory in Llanberis Pass 
    Shearwaters on Enlli 
    White Cattle of Dinefwr 
    Six Bells 
    Sarah at Plâs Newydd, Llangollen, 5 July 1788 
    Pebble 
    Taliesin 
    August Hare 
    Gleision 
    Osprey 
    Wild Plums 
    Harvest Moon 
    Blue Hydrangeas 
    In the Reading Room 
    The Plumber 
    Listen 
    The March 
    Archive 
    The Book of Aneirin
    Lament for Haiti 
    The Fish Pass 
    Ode to Winter 
    The Year’s Midnight 
    Gillian Clarke's poems ring with lucidity and power...her work is personal and archetypal, built out of language as concrete as it is musical.' - Times Literary Supplement Born in Cardiff, Gillian Clarke is a poet, playwright, editor, broadcaster, lecturer and translator (from Welsh). In 2008 Clarke was appointed National Poet of ... read more
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