Poem introduction

I wrote this poem after spending two hours in a gallery in Vienna looking at a painting by Lisa Yuskavage of two women on a cliff top. The poem was a commission for Art World. Alcyone is a mythic figure, the daughter of the guardian of the winds. She jumped to her death off a cliff when she heard that her husband had died in a shipwreck.

Alcyone

On an unfenced cliff, frightened
at the edge, in a million
silverfish of rain, I found
 
my sister Alcyone.
To me, it was just sand
crowning, a bitten earth
 
on which silt has built
for eight thousand years, an inch
a month. Still builds. She listened
 
to gulls whittle the neediness
of quiet. She watched a ship
slip into pearl while sunset
 
picked up importance. Look,
how brown bracken squats,
prickles with fragility
 
under squalls that dig into
the shoulder muscle of gusts. Gusts
coil and bounce to tower beyond
 
all elastic limits - young winds.
Young winds, I think like you.
I'm not over that hour.

from Mollicle (Nine Arches, 2010), © Claire Crowther 2010, used by permission of the author

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Claire Crowther

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1Captured Women

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2Wyvern

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3Investigating the Easter Issue

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4Lost Child

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5City of Turns

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6Petra Genetrix

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7Woman, Probably One of the Fates

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8Backpacker

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9Ubi Sunt

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10Names

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11Once Troublesome

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12The Thike

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13Sleeping on a Trampoline

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14The Wildlife of Goodbye

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15Xylotheque

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16A Curse on Your Moider

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17Birthday

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18Snail

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19The Alices

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20Vial As I Am, Tremella Nostoc, Over is Almost All of Lover

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23Alcyone

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24Against the Evidence

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25The Night of Misrule

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26Cheval de Frise

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Books by Claire Crowther