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The Collected Poems

Elizabeth Jennings

Edited by Emma Mason

The Collected Poems by Elizabeth Jennings
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This title is available for academic inspection (paperback only).
ISBN: 978 1 847770 68 4
Categories: 20th Century, British, Catholic, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: March 2012
216 x 135 x 48 mm
1000 pages
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: eBook (Kindle), eBook (EPUB), eBook (PDF)
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  • The rarity, the root, the flower,
    The things themselves, not the abouts,
    The magic wand of naming, power
    That dreads away the darks, the doubts –
                            from ‘In Itself’
    The Collected Poems is a new and definitive edition of the poetry of one of the best-loved and most enduringly popular modern poets.

    Almost all of Jennings’ published poetry (including work never before collected) and a large selection of her unpublished poems are included here, together with resources detailing her poetry, prose, essays, plays and correspondence. An afterword draws on her unpublished autobiography As I Am and her unpublished theological prose to illuminate the religious faith at the heart of her poetry. Two previously unseen photographs of Jennings and reproductions of two of her little-known ‘picture poems’ complete the volume.

    Emma Mason, Reader at the University of Warwick who has written extensively on religion and poetry, suggests that Jennings’ achievement is ‘her ability to translate the intensity and happiness of her Christian faith into a canon of accessible poems that reach out to a community of readers’. The Collected Poems enables Jennings’ poetry to speak to a new community of readers.



    The Elements
    The Lucky
    Modern Poet
    The Clock
    John the Baptist
    Cave Dwellers

    COLLECTIONS 1953–2001

    Poems (1953)

    Winter Love
    Woman in Love
    The Substitute
    The Meeting
    The Infatuation
    The Three
    Two Voices
    The Exchange
    Sequence from Childhood
    Adopted Child
    The Alteration
    Italian Light
    A View of Positano
    A Tuscan Village
    The Place Between
    Afternoon in Florence
    Deepsea Diver
    The Planners
    The Harbour
    The Arrival
    The Stranger
    The Geologist
    The Settlers
    The Seer and the Blind
    The Idler
    The Climbers
    From the Cliff
    The Island

    A Way of Looking (1955)

    A Way of Looking
    Reflections on Southern Light
    Florence: Design for a City
    Fiesole: The Search
    A Sense of Place
    The Image and the View
    Not in the Guide-Books
    Fisherman in the Arno
    Children in the Square
    Poem in Winter
    Song at the Beginning of Autumn
    Music and Words
    Astronomer: A Song
    Different Visions
    The Enemies
    In This Time
    New Worlds
    The Lost Symbols
    The Nature of Tragedy
    The Rescuer
    The Conqueror
    The Humanists
    Missing the Point
    Beyond Possession
    On Making
    Looking Forward
    For a Child Born Dead
    The Recognition
    The Return
    Escape and Return
    In the Night
    The Acknowledgement

    A Sense of the World (1958)

    The Child and the Shadow
    Old Woman
    Old Man
    The Child and the Seashell
    The Dandy
    Young Boy
    Taken by Surprise
    The Storm
    Her Garden
    The Bird Catchers
    Five Poems from ‘Sequence in Venice’
    Summer and Time
    At Noon
    Still Life
    The Dancers
    During the Hungarian Uprising
    The Parting
    A Death
    The Misunderstanding
    The Shot
    Song for a Departure
    Telling Stories
    A Fear
    In a Foreign City
    The Roman Forum
    A Conversation in the Gardens of the Villa Celimontana, Rome
    A Roman Window
    Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome
    San Paolo Fuori Le Mura, Rome
    Letter from Assisi
    The Annunciation
    The Visitation
    Agony in any Garden
    Gift of Tongues
    Statue and Candlelight
    The Virgin at Noon
    Teresa of Avila

    Song for a Birth or a Death (1961)

    Song for a Birth or a Death
    Family Affairs
    A Game of Chess
    My Grandmother
    Passage from Childhood
    In Praise of Creation
    World I have Not Made
    Harvest and Consecration
    A World of Light
    Notes for a Book of Hours
    A Confession
    A Requiem
    At a Mass
    John of the Cross
    Catherine of Siena
    The Resurrection
    The Counterpart
    Mantegna’s Agony in the Garden
    The Retreat
    Visit to an Artist
    The Clown
    The Diamond Cutter
    Stargazers and Others
    To a Friend with a Religious Vocation
    Children and Death
    A Kind of Understanding
    Visit to a Friend in Hospital
    Greek Statues
    The Pride of Life: A Roman Setting
    Men Fishing in the Arno
    An English Summer
    The Room
    Two Deaths
    About These Things
    No Reply
    The Unfulfilled
    No Child
    The Instrument
    Remembering Fireworks

    The Sonnets of Michelangelo (1961)

    I On Dante Alighieri
    II On Dante Alighieri
    III To Pope Julius II
    IV On Rome in the Pontificate of Julius II
    V To Giovanni da Pistoja on the Painting of the Sistine Chapel
    VI Invective against the People of Pistoja
    VII To Luigi del Riccio
    VIII To Liugi del Riccio After the Death of Cecchino Bracci
    IX (‘Your gifts – the sugar, candles and the mule’)
    X To Gandolfo Porrino on his Mistress Faustina Mancina
    XI To Giorgio Vasari on The Lives of the Painters
    XII To Vittoria Colonna
    XIII To the Same
    XIV (i) To the Same
    XIV (ii) (‘If noble concepts have a birth divine’)
    XV (‘The marble not yet carved can hold the form’)
    XVI (‘Just as in pen and ink, the high and low’)
    XVII (‘Lady, how can it be that what is shown’)
    XVIII (‘With heart of sulphur and with flesh of tow’)
    XIX (‘More precious am I to myself than ever’)
    XX (‘How much a garland pleases when it lies’)
    XXI (‘To others merciful and only to’)
    XXII (‘If in the face, if in the gazing eyes’)
    XXIII (‘Both near and far my eyes can see your face’)
    XXIV (‘Well-born spirit, in whom we see reflected’)
    XXV (‘“Tell me, I beg, Love, if my eyes indeed’)
    XXVI (‘Grace, Lady, equally with sorrow may’)
    XXVII (‘I cannot shape an image or acquire’)
    XXVIII (‘The living portion of my love is not’)
    XXIX (‘The first day I beheld so much unique’)
    XXX To Tommaso de’ Cavalieri
    XXXI To Tommaso de’ Cavalieri
    XXXII (‘If love is chaste, if pity comes from heaven’)
    XXXIII (i) (‘So that your beauty may not lose its power’)
    XXXIII (ii) (‘In order that your beauties may endure’)
    XXXIV (‘Eternal fire is kindly to cold stone’)
    XXXV (‘This fire, which burns me fiercely and consumes’)
    XXXVI (‘If the immortal longing which inspires’)
    XXXVII (‘If someone has been favoured with a great’)
    XXXVIII (‘Give to my eyes a natural stream or spring’)
    XXXIX (‘Reason is sympathetic when I claim’)
    XL (i) (‘I know not if it is the longed-for night’)
    XL (ii) (‘I know not if it is imagination’)
    XLI (‘He who from nothing made all things ordained’)
    XLII (‘Each shuttered room and every covered place’)
    XLIII (‘Since Phoebus does not stretch his shining hands’)
    XLIV (‘Oh night, oh sweetest time although obscure’)
    XLV (‘When a lord thrusts his servant into prison’)
    XLVI (‘If a small, steady flame can quickly dry’)
    XLVII (‘If any fire could equal that great light’)
    XLVIII (‘Though long delay breeds greater tenderness’)
    XLIX (‘From gloomy laughter and delicious tears’)
    L (‘Too late I realised that from your soul’)
    LI (i) (‘Now give me back that time when love was held’)
    LI (ii) (‘Now give me back that time which held my passion’)
    LII (‘I do not need to look on outward forms’)
    LIII (‘An ardent love of a great beauty is’)
    LIV (‘I see in your fair face, my dearest Lord’)
    LV (‘My Lord, you know that I know that you know’)
    LVI (i) (‘When you came back into this earthly prison’)
    LVI (ii) (‘I know not whence it came and yet it surely’)
    LVII (i) (‘It passes from the eyes into the heart’)
    LVII (ii) (‘It passes from the eyes into the heart’)
    LVIII (‘When to my inward eyes, both weak and strong’)
    LIX (‘Only through fire can the smith pull and stretch’)
    LX (i) (‘Sometimes hope rises strongly with desire’)
    LX (ii) (‘At times, pure love may justly be equated’)
    LXI On the Death of Vittoria Colonna
    LXII On the Death of the Same
    LXIII On the Death of the Same
    LXIV On the Death of the Same
    LXV To Giorgio Vasari
    LXVI (‘By the world’s vanities I’ve been distracted’)
    LXVII (‘There is no lower thing on earth than I’)
    LXVIII To Monsignor Lodovico Beccadelli
    LXIX (‘My death is certain but the hour unsure’)
    LXX (‘Loaded with years and full of all my sins’)
    LXXI (‘Now that I need men’s pity and compassion’)
    LXXII (‘Then let me see you everywhere I go’)
    LXXIII (‘Unburdened by the body’s fierce demands’)
    LXXIV (i) (‘Simply the longing for more years to live’)
    LXXIV (ii) (‘Often, I think, a great desire may’)
    LXXV (‘I wish, God, for some end I do not will’)
    LXXVI (‘Those souls for whom you died were sad as well’)
    LXXVII (‘Although it saddens me and causes pain’)
    LXXVIII (‘Dear to me is sleep: still more, being made of stone’)

    Recoveries (1964)

    Sequence in Hospital
    Old Man Asleep
    Works of Art
    Man in a Park
    Still Life and Observer
    Father to Son
    For a Visionary Poet
    Domestic Dramas
    Retort to the Anti-Abstractionists
    The Confidence
    Warning to Parents
    Happy Families
    Mah Jong
    Not at Home
    The Storm House
    Problems of Viewing
    The Nightmare
    Parts of a Zodiac
    The Young Ones
    Planck’s Theory of Chance
    The Sumach Tree
    ‘Wedding Rites at Tipasa’
    For Albert Camus
    A Picture
    The Shells
    Eighty-one Years Old
    A Thought from Aquinas
    The Destroyers
    A Game of Cards
    A New Pain

    The Mind Has Mountains (1966)

    In a Mental Hospital Sitting-room
    Diagnosis and Protest
    Reflections on a Mental Hospital
    The Interrogator
    Van Gogh
    The Jump
    Attempted Suicides
    Night Sister
    The Illusion
    Words From Traherne
    A Nurse Gone Sick
    Final Considerations
    Samuel Palmer and Chagall
    On a Friend’s Relapse and Return to a Mental Clinic
    Old Age
    Night Garden of the Asylum
    A Baby Born in Hospital
    Personal Easter
    A Depression
    Grove House, Iffley
    Caravaggio’s Narcissus in Rome
    Chinese Art
    Late Child
    Love Poem
    One Flesh
    Thinking of Love
    Van Gogh Again
    A Birthday in Hospital
    New Poem Simply
    Blue Candles
    My Room
    Just Another Poem
    Unkind Poem about People who are Mildly Deranged
    A Limerick and So On
    Poem about the Breakdown of a Breakdown

    The Secret Brother and Other Poems for Children (1966)

    The Secret Brother
    Thomas the Ginger Cat
    Holidays at Home
    A Sort of Chinese Poem
    The Ginger Cat
    The Hamster
    My Animals
    The Ugly Child
    The Radio Men
    The Ark
    Tiffany: a Burmese Kitten
    At Night
    Rhyme for Children
    Old People
    Chocolate Adam and Eve
    Love Poem
    The Dead Bird

    New Poems from Collected Poems (1967)

    For Love
    The Circle
    The Shaking World
    A Dream of Birth
    The Boy
    The Operation
    The Novice
    The Bonfire
    Volcano and Iceberg

    The Animals’ Arrival (1969)

    The Animals’ Arrival
    The Day
    A Pattern
    First Man
    A Simple Sickness
    The Plough
    Of Languages
    The Soldiers
    The Unknown Child
    Never to See
    Hospital Garden
    The Source
    The Broken Minds
    Cold Winter
    This Summer
    The Sea
    The Nightmares
    Silence of Winter
    A Letter to Peter Levi
    These Silences
    Congo Nun Raped
    Any Poet’s Epitaph

    Lucidities (1970)

    For My Dead Father
    Literary Fashions
    Port Meadow, Oxford
    For George Seferis, Greek Poet
    Moving In
    Harsh Words
    In Retrospect and Hope
    A Decision
    An Experience
    Evening Prayer, by Rimbaud
    The Sly One, by Rimbaud
    Sensation, from Rimbaud
    First Evening, by Rimbaud
    My Bohemian Life, after Rimbaud
    The Rooks, by Rimbaud
    Mrs Porter
    To One Who Read My Rejected Autobiography
    Analysis of a Situation
    This World
    The Future
    This Darkness
    I Am Myself
    The Children
    Journey through Warwickshire to Oxford

    Relationships (1972)

    Upon a Thread
    A Sonnet
    Let Things Alone
    For Emily Dickinson
    The Sea
    A Wonder
    In Memory of Anyone Unknown to Me
    All Quarrels
    Making a Silence
    A Very Young Mother
    The Seven Deadly Sins
    A Dream Undreamt
    Sea Love
    Of Love
    From the Heights
    Missing a Mirage
    Italian Memories
    Happiness in Rome
    Quiet Wars
    Kinds of Tears
    Blame Yourself
    Not Counting Time
    The Drunk
    Craftsmanship with Fish
    Almost Falling Asleep
    The Climb
    The Wood
    The Caves
    Sheer Rage
    The Roses
    A Paradox

    Growing Points (1975)

    To the Core
    A Quartet
    In a Garden
    Among Strangers
    The Quality of Goodness
    No Rest
    For the Mind Explorers
    Thunder and a Boy
    A Quiet Enemy
    I Feel
    Bird Study
    Towards a Religious Poem
    After a Time
    The Lord’s Prayer
    Meditation on the Nativity
    Christ on the Cross
    Lent Beginning 1974
    Easter Duties
    Whitsun Sacrament
    Out of the Heights
    The Nature of Prayer
    Thomas Aquinas
    Open to the Public
    In a Picture Gallery
    Rembrandt’s Late Self-Portraits
    Mozart’s Horn Concertos
    A Scholar Emperor of the Tang Dynasty
    A Chinese Sage
    Elegy for W.H. Auden
    Hopkins in Wales
    A Play at Avignon
    After a Play
    Creators in Vienna
    Snake Charmer
    The Minotaur
    Not Abstract
    Little Peace
    Behind All Iron Curtains
    Not for Use
    Childhood in Lincolnshire
    Losing and Finding
    An Event
    A Third
    An Abandoned Palace
    Rather like a Peacock
    Given Notice
    Leaving a Room
    Night Worker by Nature
    An Attempt to Charm Sleep
    The Poem at Times
    Celebration of Winter
    To Go with a Present
    A Little More
    This is
    Never Going
    A Gentle Command
    In Itself

    Consequently I Rejoice (1977)

    Lighting a Candle
    Almost Drowning
    Invocation and Incantation
    Fragment for the Dark
    Morning Decision
    Better than a Protest
    My Seasons
    Winter Night Wish
    Meditation in Winter
    Bird Sunrise in Winter
    Let There Be
    Song for the Swifts
    For Their Own Sake
    Much to be Said
    Instinct for Seasons
    The Sleep of Birds
    Star Midnight
    Decision on a July Night
    July Island
    Sonnet for Late Summer
    Towards Migration
    To the Ground
    November Sun
    Ways of Dying
    Winter Testimony
    Old People’s Nursing Home
    To My Mother At 73
    Elegy for My Father
    Death of an Old Lady
    Her Hands
    For an Old Lady of 96
    A Disabled Countryman
    Military Service
    The Hoarder
    A Child in the Night
    Cradle Catholic
    A Reflection from Pascal
    Meditation on the Fall
    A Magnificat
    Mary the Huntress
    Mary Speaks
    Mary’s Magnificat
    Christmas Request
    Words for the Magi
    Our Lady’s Lullaby
    Christ Recalls ‘The Massacre of the Innocents’
    Christ on His Loneliness
    The Holy Fool
    One Who Was Healed
    Christ’s Final Temptation
    Christ’s Agony in the Garden
    In Christ’s Place
    Prayer to Christ Suffering
    Christ Surprised
    Christ Seen by Flemish Painters
    Christmas Poem 1974
    One Creed and Many
    Michelangelo’s First Pietà
    A Meditation on D.H. Lawrence
    Elegy for Aldous Huxley
    Change of Plan
    In a Violent Time
    For Edward Thomas
    Questions to Other Artists
    Reflections on a Still Life
    Klee’s Last Years
    Portrait Painting
    For Virginia Woolf
    A Painter’s Wife
    Chinese Poem
    Night Concert at Taormina
    Ariel’s Song
    The Aegean
    Poems for a New Greek Anthology

    After the Ark (1978)

    The Animals’ Chorus
    The Fish’s Warning
    The Ladybird’s Story
    The Cabbage White Butterfly
    The Moth’s Plea
    The Spider’s Confession
    Wasp in a Room
    The Snake’s Warning
    The Earthworm’s Monologue
    The Frogs’ History
    The Bats’ Plea
    The Swallows’ Speech
    Gull Thought
    The Rooks’ Chorus
    The Robin’s Song
    The Sparrows’ Chorus
    The Thrush Confides
    The Owl’s Request
    The Cuckoo’s Speech
    The Cockerel Proclaims
    The Fieldmouse’s Monologue
    The Hedgehog’s Explanation
    The Rabbit’s Advice
    The Sheep’s Confession
    The Deers’ Request
    The Riding School
    The Black Cat’s Conversation
    The Lion Cub
    Finale for the Animals

    Moments of Grace (1979)

    Into the Hour
    An Answer to Odd Advice
    A Meditation in March 1979
    The Sermon of Appearances
    Among Farm Workers
    To be a Sunflower
    Outside Greece
    The Whole Bestiary
    Friesian Cows
    Cat in Winter
    The Shoot
    A Beseeching
    A Christmas Carol for 1978
    Never Such Peace
    The Way of it
    Channel Port Night
    A Weather Spell
    Thought and Feeling
    I Count the Moments
    Love Needs an Elegy
    On its Own
    An Elusive One
    Haunted House
    The Dangerous Ones
    Spell of the Elements
    A Chorus of Creation
    A Chorus
    An Education
    A New Patience
    The Wrong Subject
    Some Never Forgotten Words of My Mother’s
    The Gardens Stretch
    Summer Scene
    Sea Song
    Spring Twilight
    Night Moment
    Night Power
    The Apt Phrase
    A Proustian Moment
    A Chinese Poem
    Braque’s Dream
    Christmas Suite in Five Movements

    Winter Wind (1979)

    Near the End
    A Happy End
    The Deepest Love
    Winter Wind
    A Widow
    Van Gogh
    The Only Child
    The Rake

    A Dream of Spring (1980)

    Winter Argument
    The Snow
    A Dream of Spring
    Instead of an Elegy
    More Than Spring
    A Moment of Childhood
    From Light to Dark
    Lent and Spring
    A Difficulty
    Spring’s Annunciation
    Into Spring
    Sermon of the Clouds
    One Man, One Voice
    English Wild Flowers
    A Way to a Creed

    Celebrations and Elegies (1982)

    Sermon of the Hills
    The Heart of Night
    Arrival in Bibbiena, Tuscany
    Remembering Bibbiena in Tuscany
    A Kind of Catalogue
    Blackbird Singing
    Not Mine
    Over and Over
    An Elegy before Death
    Children at Play
    Landscapes and Figures
    Leaves in the Wind
    Images of Love
    First Admirers
    The Near Perfection
    Given an Apple
    A Place to Walk In
    Song of Love and Peace
    Land of Plenty
    What we Remember
    An Unnerving Lesson
    A Dark Passion
    Recovering from a Death
    Words about Grief
    For a Gentle Friend
    A Hand Lifting
    Is it Dual-Natured?
    Painter from Life
    Words for Music
    A Kind of Magic
    The One Drawback
    I Came Once
    As the Rooks Are
    Sources of Light

    Extending the Territory (1985)

    The Child’s Story
    The Features of a House
    A Bird in the House
    Green World
    An Absolute
    Family History
    For My Sister
    The Circuses
    A Serious Game
    A Sky in Childhood
    The Last
    Over and Over Again
    A Class-Room
    A Time Ago
    Partly Tamed
    The Inheritors
    Elegy in Spring
    The Advance of Spring
    In April
    Spell for Spring
    A Supposition
    A Forgetting
    Let Summer Thrive
    A Kind of Magnet
    Into the Clouds
    Ballad of War
    A Condition
    Seasonal Reverie
    As We Wish
    The Great Mover
    Missed Chances
    Two by the Sea
    Years Ago
    Tell Me
    Love in Three Movements
    Certain Lessons
    A Death Alive
    Eye to Eye
    Bitter Fruit
    The Alteration
    Growing Ahead
    Shall All the Loves
    I Climbed a Ladder
    Our Neighbour
    Mother and Daughter
    Awake in the Siesta
    Rome – A Quarter of a Century Ago
    Particular Music
    Memories of Rome
    The Way of Words and Language
    A Performance of Henry V at Stratford-upon-Avon
    Song of Time
    Dawn Not Yet
    Frail Bone
    By the Sea
    Water Music
    From the Coast

    Tributes (1989)

    A Letter of Thanks
    For George Herbert
    Notes to The Winter’s Tale
    For Charles Causley
    For Philip Larkin
    Tribute to Turner
    After a Painting is Finished
    Tate Gallery
    The Arts
    A Roman Trio
    Once in Greece
    The Gulf of Salerno
    Some Words of My Mother’s in Childhood
    Psalm of Childhood
    Psalm of Discrepancies
    By Themselves
    Spring and a Blackbird
    True Spring
    Moon in December
    A Music Sought
    Arrival and Preparation
    Two Together
    At the Source
    Landscape and Wild Gardens
    Winter Piece
    In Such Slow Sweetness
    For Melody
    Two Musics
    All that Departing
    A Living Death
    Time for the Elegy
    The Spirit Lifts
    One Minute
    Young Love
    The Feel of Things
    Some Solitude
    Fifteen Years After a Death
    Legacies and Language
    The House of Words
    The Early Work
    Think Of
    Art and Time
    Pigeons Suddenly
    The Luck of It
    The Start of a Story
    Against the Dark
    The Sea as Metaphor
    I Heard a Voice
    Let It Be
    The Prodigal Son
    The Hours
    Saint Augustine
    For Easter 1986
    Easter Vigil and Mass
    In Good Time
    A Reproach
    Moving Together
    Group Life
    First Six Years
    A Childhood Religion
    The Essential
    Talking of Hume
    Thinking of Descartes
    The Force of Time
    Of Time
    There is Time
    Turning Inland
    On the Edge of My Mind
    A Happy Death

    Times and Seasons (1992)

    Parts of Speech
    For My Mother
    The Smell of Chrysanthemums
    On the Tongue
    Protest after a Written Interview
    A Christmas Sequence
    In Green Times
    A Child Destroyed
    Shapes and Surfaces
    A Litany for Contrition
    My Ships
    Springtime and Easter
    An Easter Sequence
    For Restraint
    A Childhood Horror
    Beyond the Horoscope
    For Louise and Timothy
    Romantic Love
    The Word
    An Age of Doubt
    First Love
    For the Young
    The Start of the Universe: April 1992
    Inner and Outer
    Curtains Undrawn
    Time in Summer
    First Confession
    Think Of
    Spell for a Dead Baby
    Cold Words
    Light Between Leaves
    A Question of Form
    In the Beginning
    In Praise of Giotto
    For the Times
    The Way They Live Now
    The Poem in Itself
    Two Sonnets of Art and Age
    Two Sonnets for a Czech Friend
    Poetry Sometimes …
    November Sonnet
    Water and Air
    In the Nursery
    Out of Time and Season
    Time and Love
    Subject and Object
    Left in Charge
    August Heat
    Living by Love
    An Old Story
    When I Was Young
    Movement and Meaning
    A Father after his Daughter’s Wedding
    The Happy Regrets

    Familiar Spirits (1994)

    The World We Made
    The First Music
    An Uncle and Godfather
    Our Maids
    Slow Movement: Autumn
    A Cliff Walk in North Devon when I was Twelve
    Sky in Childhood
    First Love
    A Way to Imagine
    My Father’s Father
    Blood Bonds, Family Feelings
    Cousins, Aunts, Uncles
    Old Friends
    A Realisation
    A Coffee House
    Bicycles in Summer
    Sea Music
    Among the Stars
    It is not True?
    Cities: Their Beginning
    Unto the Hills
    Love Whispered
    Squares and Circles
    Genes, Likenesses
    After a Film called The Bridge
    Still Life
    The Roots
    Overture to Spring
    Steps Towards Poems
    Passed Down
    Katie: A Portrait
    In Praise of Anonymity
    ‘Music of the Spheres’
    Two Sonnets on Love and Lust
    For Louise Aged 12, My Great-Niece
    My Sister
    Death of a Father who was a Poet
    A Very Great Friend and Influence
    Fables, Lessons
    The Modes of Love

    In the Meantime (1996)

    The Right Givers
    Wisdom of the Fields
    Spring Love
    The Liberation
    Their First Snow
    A House in Nottingham
    For Charlotte
    Children in Summer
    Child of Seven Questions
    The Need to Praise
    Oxford, Heatwave, Tourists
    Among Late-Teenagers
    Welcoming Spring
    The Great Spirits
    Story Tellers
    Seers and Makers
    Hermits and Poets
    The Sitter
    Act of the Imagination
    For Paul Klee
    Sonnets to Narcissus
    Having it Both Ways
    Telling the Time
    Two Sonnets
    A World of Love
    Loss of Loss
    At Mass (I)
    Which is Which?
    After Dark
    At Mass (II)
    Consecration (I)
    Consecration (II)
    Ash Wednesday 1995
    A Touch of Existentialism
    Holy Communion
    The Spirit’s Power
    Time’s Element
    The Assumption of Our Lady 15th August
    Flesh and Spirit
    Spirit and Flesh
    Good Friday
    Age of Doubt
    With the Migrants
    In the Meantime

    Praises (1998)

    For my Sister, now a Widow
    A View of Lazarus
    Walking in the Dark
    In and Out of Time
    The Words are Pouring
    Rapture of Spring
    A Unique Gift
    An Apple Tree
    A Full Moon
    Song Just Before Autumn
    Harvest Home
    Alone Over Christmas
    No Visions or Prayers
    Apology to a Friend
    Round and Round
    Famous Parents
    Childhood Christmas Parties
    Ballad of a Thinker
    Reasons for Not Returning
    Carol for 1997
    Two Sonnets on Words and Music
    Mid-May Meditation
    Small Hours
    Myths Within Us
    Song of Welcome
    A Metaphysical Point About Poetry
    Prayer for Holy Week
    Love’s Struggle
    ‘Hours’ and Words
    For Seamus Heaney
    The Book of Love
    In a Bar
    The First Time
    The Limits of Love
    After an Elegy
    A Gift of Gratitude
    At Our Best
    The Largest Question
    Concerning History

    Timely Issues (2001)

    Regions of Memory
    A Company of Friends
    Mozart in the Middle of the Night
    Dream: A Ballad
    The Story
    Country Sounds
    Out in the Country in 2000
    Lullaby for the Old
    Rage of the Moon
    October 2000
    The Thinker
    For Any Newish Poet
    Prayer: Homage to George Herbert
    Homage to Thomas Traherne
    Homage to Gerard Manley Hopkins: After Receiving Communion in Hospital
    Homage to Robert Graves
    Looking at Pictures
    Concerning Imagination (I)
    Concerning Imagination (II)
    Concerning Imagination (III)
    An Awareness
    Some Months After Anaesthetics
    Lost Time
    After Four Months of Illness
    One More Place of Memory
    The Hours
    Girl at Prayer
    At Mass
    All Saints 2000
    All Souls
    Song in November 2000
    Carol for 2000
    New Year Song
    Epiphany 2001
    Night Song
    Assurance Beyond Midnight



    Wings of the War (BL, MS Add 52598 A, pp. 3–4)
    The Friend (BL, MS Add 52598 C, p. 1)
    A Snail Universe (BL, MS Add 52598 C, p. 3)
    The Cuckoo (BL, MS Add 52598 C, p. 14)
    To Our Lady (BL, MS Add 52598 C, back of p. 20)
    A Thought (BL, MS Add 52598 C, p. 21)
    The Call of the Sea, c.1940 (UDEL, 186/7/87)
    Moonlight on the Oxus, c.1940 (UDEL, 186/7/87)


    Roman Noon, 15 June 1957 (UD, 284/1)
    The Adversaries, 1957–58 (WUL, 8)
    Elegy, January 1958 (WUL, 9)
    Towards Contemplation, 1 April 1958 (WUL, 9)
    Adolescence, July 1958 (WUL, 1)
    ‘No Worse, There is None’ 3 October 1962 (UD, 186/1/36)
    Acceptance (Perversity), c.1963–66 (UD, 186/1/17)
    As I See It, c.1963–66 (UD, 186/1/18)
    Before the Interview (Surprise), c.1963–66 (UD, 186/1/18)
    Breakfast in a Mental Hospital, c.1963–66 (UD, 186/1/19)
    The Dead Selves, c.1963–66 (UD, 186/1/22)
    Discharge from Hospital, c.1963–66 (UD, 186/1/22)
    Divers Gifts, c.1963–66 (UD, 186/1/23)
    Duty Doctor, c.1963–66 (UD, 186/1/23)
    A Father, c.1963–66 (UD, 186/1/24)
    Hospital, c.1963–66 (UD, 186/1/27)
    Heat Wave: Melons, c.1963–66 (UD, 186/1/29)
    Imagined Honeymoon, c.1963–66 (UD, 186/1/28)
    Incompatibilities, c.1963–66 (UD, 186/1/28)
    A Lesson, c.1963–66 (UD, 186/1/30)
    A Memory, c.1963–66 (UD, 186/1/32)
    The Mind Has Wounds, c.1963–66 (UD, 186/1/33)
    Miro, c.1963–66 (UD, 186/1/33)
    The Mountain, c.1963–66 (UD, 186/1/34)
    Naming the Stars, c.1963–66 (UD, 186/1/43)
    On the Telephone, c.1963–66 (UD, 186/2/37)
    Order, c.1963–66 (UD, 186/2/37)
    Philosophy in Springtime, c.1963–66 (UD, 186/2/39)
    Revaluation, c.1963–66 (UD, 186/2/42)
    Spaceman, c.1963–66 (UD, 186/2/45)
    Suicide, c.1963–66 (UD, 186/2/46)
    The Treatment, c.1963–66 (UD, 186/2/47)
    Two Ways, c.1963–66 (UD, 186/2/48)
    A Year Later, c.1963–66 (UD, 186/2/50)
    A Recollection, June 1964 (UD, 186/2/41)
    Homage to Jung and Freud, 10 October 1964 (UD, 186/1/27)
    Making in a Mental Clinic, 13 October 1964 (UD, 186/1/31)
    After a Catastrophe, 17 October 1964 (UD, 186/1/17)
    For Jung, 25 October 1964 (UD, 186/1/25)
    Despair in a State of Nerves, 8 November 1964 (UD, 186/1/22)
    Nativity, 4 December 1964 (WUL, 4)
    The Question, 4 December 1964 (WUL, 5)
    Security, 1964 (UD, 186/2/51)
    The Builders, 1964 (UD, 186/2/51)
    Prayer, 7 June 1965 (WUL, 8)
    A Surprise in a Mental Hospital, 11 June 1965 (WUL, 8)
    A Haunting, 18 June 1965 (UD, 284/1)
    A Mood of Near-Despair, 22 June 1965 (WUL, 8)
    Dependence, 23 June 1965 (WUL, 8)
    Words, 28 June 1965 (WUL, 8)
    A Kind of Villanelle, 1 July 1965 (WUL, 8)
    I am afraid …, 3 July 1965 (WUL, 3)
    Rilke, 12 July 1965 (WUL, 8)
    Old Inhabitant, 14 August 1965 (WUL, 5)
    Bon Voyage, 19 August 1965 (WUL,1 )
    Thinking of My Father’s Future Death, 27 August 1965 (WUL, 6)
    Anomalies in Love, 5 September 1965 (WUL, 1)
    Adumbrations, 12 September 1965 (WUL, 1)
    Admissions, 2 October 1965 (WUL, 1)
    To My Father, 10 December 1965 (WUL, 6)
    Love and the Looking-Glass World, 13 February 1966 (WUL, 4)
    Tapestry, 27 March 1966 (WUL, 6)
    An Evening in the South, 19 June 1966 (WUL, 3)
    Ambiguities, 11 July 1966 (WUL, 1)
    Episode, 13 August 1966 (WUL, 3)
    A Briefness, 23 August 1966 (WUL, 1)
    September, 8 September 1966 (WUL, 5)
    The Aquarium, 17 September 1966 (WUL, 1)
    The Wedding Cake, 18 September 1966 (WUL, 6)
    October, 1 October 1966 (WUL, 5)
    Words, 30 October 1966 (UD, 186/2/49)
    Waking in Tears, 18 December 1966 (UD, 186/2/49)


    Suddenly, 1972 (GU, 2/1/1)
    Fever, 1972 (GU, 2/1/4)
    Rubinstein Playing Brahms’s Intermezzo, 1976 (GU, 2/2/12)
    Christ Speaks to the Other Persons of the Trinity, 1976 (GU, 2/2/12)
    Thinking of Ireland in January, 1976, 1976 (GU, 2/2/12)
    Artur Rubinstein Playing in Old Age, 1976 (GU, 2/2/12)
    Skier, 1976 (GU, 2/2/12)
    Bach, 1976 (GU, 2/2/12)
    Francis Bacon’s Paintings, 1976 (GU, 2/2/13)
    Christ Speaks to his Father of Homesickness, 1976 (GU, 2/3/2)
    End of Winter, 1976 (GU, 2/3/2)
    Ten Years After My Father’s Death, 1979 (GU, 2/8/10)
    A Hidden King, 1979 (GU, 2/8/10)
    Give Me Colours, 1979 (GU, 2/8/10)
    Losing, 1979 (GU, 2/8/11)
    The Drift, 1979 (GU, 2/8/11)
    For My Father Again, 1979 (GU, 2/8/11)
    Ashore, 1979 (GU, 2/8/11)
    Music for Italy, 1979 (GU, 2/8/11)
    A Prepared Elegy, 1980 (GU, 2/14/2)
    A Special Sound, May, 1981 (WUL, 11)
    Changings, May 1981 (WUL, 11)
    A Song and a Question, May 1981 (WUL, 11)
    The Mother of a Hunger-Striker who Died in Ireland on
    May 4th, 1981, May 1981 (WUL, 11)
    Words in the Small Hours, May 1981 (WUL, 11)
    Wordsmiths, August 1981 (WUL, 11)
    A Smile and a Country, August 1981 (WUL, 11)
    Unity, August 1981 (WUL, 11)
    Night Song, August 1981 (WUL, 11)
    On My Sixtieth Birthday, c.1986 (GU, 2/31/15)
    Patience, 1987 (GU, 2/27/1)
    Near Despair, 1987 (GU, 2/27/1)
    An Elegy After Twenty Years, 1987 (GU, 2/27/1)
    Elegy for Myself, 1987 (GU, 2/27/2)
    C.S. Lewis Lecturing in Magdalen Hall in 1946, 1987 (GU, 2/27/3)
    Sleep Shanty, 1987 (GU, 2/27/5)


    In a Taxi, 24 February 1992 (GU, uncatalogued)
    A Fleck, A Breath, 9 July 1992 (GU, uncatalogued)
    Reading Poetry at a School, 9 July 1992 (GU, uncatalogued)
    Two Griefs, 9 July 1992 (GU, uncatalogued)
    [Untitled], 9 July 1992 (GU, uncatalogued)
    Romanticism, July 1992 (GU, uncatalogued)
    Skyscrapers, July 1992 (GU, uncatalogued)
    A Realisation, August 1992 (GU, uncatalogued)
    Two Sonnets on Death, August 1992 (GU, uncatalogued)
    Love and Friendship, 1996 (UD, uncatalogued)
    Boston, Lincolnshire Childhood, 1996 (UD, uncatalogued)
    Last Night, 1996 (UD, uncatalogued)
    A Litany, 1996 (UD, uncatalogued)
    A Trance of Spring, 1996 (UD, uncatalogued)
    Banish, 1998 (UD, uncatalogued)
    Blaming, 1998 (UD, uncatalogued)
    Being, 1998 (UD, uncatalogued)
    The Sea, 1998 (UD, uncatalogued)
    Inheritance, 1998 (UD, uncatalogued)
    Dawn, 1998 (UD, uncatalogued)
    Abuse of a Sacrament, 1998 (UD, uncatalogued)
    English Lesson, 1998 (UD, uncatalogued)
    The Vocation, 1998 (UD, uncatalogued)
    After the Fall, 1998 (UD, uncatalogued)
    An Impertinent Interviewer, 1998 (UD, uncatalogued)
    Child in a Café, 1998 (UD, uncatalogued)
    Clocks Back, 1998 (UD, uncatalogued)
    Afterword, 1999 (UD, uncatalogued)
    Assisi after the Earthquake, 1999 (UD, uncatalogued)
    The Farmer’s Lot, 1999 (UD, uncatalogued)
    Three Attempts at an Aesthetic, 1999 (UD, uncatalogued)
    A Mood for Painting, 1999 (UD, uncatalogued)
    The Perky Flowers, 1999 (UD, uncatalogued)
    Betrayer, 1999 (UD, uncatalogued)
    The Receivers, 1999 (UD, uncatalogued)
    Early Rituals, 1999 (UD, uncatalogued)
    Pietà, 1999 (UD, uncatalogued)
    Rilke’s Angels, 1999 (UD, uncatalogued)
    Friendship, 1999 (UD, uncatalogued)
    Prose, 2000 (UD, uncatalogued)
    Picture Galleries, 2000 (UD, uncatalogued)
    Homage to Wallace Stevens, 2000 (UD, uncatalogued)
    Homage to W.B. Yeats, 2000 (UD, uncatalogued)
    Hope, 2000 (UD, uncatalogued)
    Homage to Chaucer, 2000 (UD, uncatalogued)
    Homage to Henry Vaughan, 2000 (UD, uncatalogued)
    Homage to Robert Browning, 2000 (UD, uncatalogued)
    Homage to W.H. Auden, 2000 (UD, uncatalogued)
    Homage to Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 2000 (UD, uncatalogued)
    With My Hands, 2000 (UD, uncatalogued)

    Undated Poems

    Actors (UD, 282/2)
    The City (UD, 282/2)
    Contemplation (UD, 282/2)
    Meaning (UD, 282/2)
    Thoughts on Dying (UD, 282/2)
    A Vision (UD, 282/2)
    The Wood (UD, 282/2)
    For a Painter (UD, 282/2)
    ‘Easter in us’ (GU, 2/31/7)
    For Russian Poets in Prison (GU, 2/31/8)
    For Seamus Heaney (GU, 2/31/8)
    Going Back (GU, 2/31/8)
    Only in Fragments (GU, 2/31/15)
    Psalm on Contemporary Philosophers (GU, 2/31/17)
    Remembering Plato’s Symposium (GU, 2/31/17)
    Where Words Fail (GU, 2/31/22)
    It’s Magic (GU, uncatalogued)
    After Thirty Years (GU, 2/25/5)
    Schizophrenia (GU, 2/26/1)
    On the Edge of Sleep (GU, 3/7/93)
    Waking to the Sea (GU, 3/7/93)
    Abstraction (WUL, 1)
    Act of Unreason (WUL, 1)
    Apology to a Psychotherapist (WUL, 1)
    Approaches to Fear (WUL, 1)
    Bells (WUL, 1)
    The Big City After a Year (WUL, 1)
    A Bowl of Stocks (WUL, 1)
    A Boy Dying (WUL, 1)
    By the Fire (WUL, 1)
    Case-books (WUL, 2)
    Crucifixions (WUL, 2)
    A Cure (WUL, 2)
    Day Patient (WUL, 2)
    For Sylvia Plath (WUL, 3)
    For Van Gogh (WUL, 3)
    Haiku (WUL, 3)
    In the South (WUL, 4)
    Jargon (WUL, 4)
    Love Song (WUL, 4)
    My Friend (WUL, 4)
    On a Text by Sartre (WUL, 5)
    Roman Wine (WUL, 5)
    The Silenced (WUL, 5)
    Sonnet at Nightfall (WUL, 5)
    Thoughts from Abroad (WUL, 6)
    Transitional Poem (WUL, 6)
    The Weapons (WUL, 6)
    The Tormentors (WUL, 10)

    Index of Titles
    Index of First Lines


    Elizabeth Jennings, c. 1950
    Elizabeth Jennings as a young girl
    ‘Poem Like a Picture’
    Elizabeth Jennings
    Elizabeth Jennings was born in Boston, Lincolnshire in 1926, and lived most of her life in Oxford, where she moved in 1932. She was educated at Rye St Antony and Oxford High School before reading English at St Anne’s College, Oxford, where she began a B.Litt., but left to pursue a ... read more
    Emma Mason
    Emma Mason is a Reader in the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies, University of Warwick. She was previously a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at Corpus Christi, Oxford and has also been a Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Huntington Library, California. She is the author of The ... read more
    'But there is no sterility here: I defy you to read "A Living Death" and not be on the verge of tears by the end of it ("I am caught up / Within a death that does not die") This is a supremely dippable-into book. Its bulk is liberating, not intimidating.'
    Nicholas Lezard, The Guardian, Tuesday 3rd April, 2012.
    'it contains some of the finest lyric poetry of the 20th century'
    Anne Stevenson, The Sunday Times, September 14th 1986
    Praise for Elizabeth Jennings 'Anyone who likes poetry will love it if you get them Carcanet's Collected Poems of Elizabeth Jennings. It costs a bit but you do get well over 1,000 poems, with barely a duff one; heck, you could even give it to someone who doesn't like poetry, and suggest it will change their mind.'
    Nicholas Lezard, the Guardian, 1st December, 2012
    'Offers a broad selection of her best work ... in all its tenderness, insight and acute, stepping-on-ice vulnerability'

    Michael Glover, The Tablet.

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