Poetry Centre

Weekly Poem for 24 January 2011

  • Accents

    I lay down under the cherry trees
    in our garden where the grass was balding

    a little, and looked up into the branches.
    I was learning the catechism,

    and I went over a few questions
    and answers as absolutes; I was thinking

    of a dance I had been to on a farm
    a dress I wore, something I said

    too revealing of feeling;
    those chicks left in an open crate

    in the shade behind the farm, near a wall,
    came into my mind. I thought of how

    they might have struggled all wet
    out of their eggs, like light escaping;

    Senorita Morales came into my thoughts too,
    her long fingernails when she pointed out

    where the accents should go over the words
    on the blackboard, and the way she said

    penultima silaba and antepenultima;
    and all these thoughts lightly hooked together

    like young girls walking down the street
    holding each others’ hands by the little finger.

    by Jane Duran

    © Jane Duran, 2010. 'Accents' is taken from the book Graceline, and reprinted by permission of Enitharmon Press.

    Notes courtesy of Enitharmon:

    As a young girl, Jane Duran moved to Chile with her family, travelling from New York to Valparaiso on the Santa Barbara, one of the Grace Line fleet. This long journey, passing through the Panama Canal and down the Pacific coast of Latin America, has inspired her collection of poems Graceline. These meditative poems cross over continually between illusion and reality, past and present. Although they evoke the journey, and the extraordinary landscapes of Chile, they also explore darker undercurrents. Her sequence 'Panama Canal' evokes the terrors of the Canal’s construction; a sequence on the regime of Augusto Pinochet ('Invisible Ink') interweaves cityscapes and landscapes with allusions to the cruelties and bereavements of that time. But the poems are also about her life as a young girl in Chile, the impact of the Chilean landscape on her, and convey a powerful feeling of love for that country. You can learn more about her book here, and more about Jane Duran here. At the second link you can hear her reading from her own work.

    Enitharmon Press takes its name from a William Blake character who represents spiritual beauty and poetic inspiration. Founded in 1967 with an emphasis on independence and quality, Enitharmon has been associated with such figures as Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter and Kathleen Raine. Enitharmon also commissions internationally renowned collaborations between artists, including Gilbert & George, and poets, including Seamus Heaney, under the Enitharmon Editions imprint. Discover more about Enitharmon here.

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