Friday Poem – Io’s Sisters

This week’s poem comes from Graham Mort’s collection, Cusp. His latest short story collection, Terroir, is now available on our website.

Cusp features many of the qualities readers have come to admire from Graham Mort; keen observation, a feeling for the natural world that echoes and enhances the human interactions in his poems, the sense of the individual as part of a larger society of which we are implicitly responsible. New here is a different sort of line, which alternates short and longer lines in a step-like formation, a terracing which propels the narratives along. Also included is the remarkable, ambitious long poem, ‘Electricity’, fizzing with riffs on its theme. Mort’s formal rigour, instinctive compassion, and warm humanity shine through in this new book, the first since his acclaimed: Visibility: New and Selected Poems.

Io’s Sisters

The usual English summer:
early heat stoking speedwell
dog’s mercury stealing
a march, then months
of drizzle until rosehips
were fading coals
in the hedgerows
sloes a hidden bruise
slugs cruising a lacework
of green and bodies coming
home under Union Jacks
salutes, tributes, the Last Post.

Then on the fading cusp
of August, cows calling
nightlong into rain that
pelted the village:
knock-kneed, teats dragging
in mud, their lungs’ bellows
working the drenched ember
of summer, as if Hera’s spite
stranded them beyond
phonetical love; their eyes
goaded by flies, their tongues
turning a hoarse cud of longing.

Even in darkness
we question their sad
calling with the glib surety
of words, shaping these
smallest sounds as if glass
had broken in our mouths
to join up again as meaning
measure the loss in their
inhuman mooning yet
still fall short of ours.

Engorged, drooling
teat-sore, they drag their
banishment through wet
fields, call for their stolen
calves in pain so large
so inexpressible so deep
it erupts from the colossal
absence they circle as if
they have known in one
form, one incarnation, one
language of consonant
delight a delicacy they
could never speak in this
brute sphere, nor ever be
transfigured to themselves.

Order Cusp and Terroir from our website.


One thought on “Friday Poem – Io’s Sisters

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s