Poem of the week

Gerry Cambridge opens a window on American poetry for UK readers, and in the 21st issue of The Dark Horse offers stimulating criticism alongside poems from both sides of the Atlantic.

He includes this touching and many-layered meditation on time and memory from the distinguished American poet Rachel Hadas.

Quickening

I've finally brought myself to give away

the wartime edition of The Joy of Cooking

in which my mother-in-law had noted "first

quickening" and the date

(fall 1942 it would have been)

in the inside back cover. Tenderly

handed on, the dense maternal weave

rediscovered, lost again, the past

skidding and pleating like a slippery rug

underfoot, that quickening fetus now

a man not much past sixty who is fast

losing his memory. How did I get here?

And how do I escape?

As long as I remember things, I live

In the illusion nothing has been lost.

The streetlights suddenly all go on at once,

but shreds of sunlight still shine through the trees

as urgently as if we had a choice.

You can buy The Dark Horse from the Scottish Poetry Library, or read it there. Tel: 0131-557 2876, e-mail reception@spl.org.uk or visit www.spl.org.uk

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