Glad of these times

Driving along the motorway
swerving the packed lanes
I am glad of these times.

Because I did not die in childbirth
because my children will survive me
I am glad of these times.

I am not hungry, I do not curtsey,
I lock my door with my own key
and I am glad of these times,

glad of central heating and cable TV
glad of e-mail and keyhole surgery
glad of power showers and washing machines,

glad of polio innoculations
glad of three weeks' paid holiday
glad of smart cards and cashback,

glad of twenty types of yoghurt
glad of cheap flights to Prague
glad that I work.

I do not breathe pure air or walk green lanes,
see darkness, hear silence,
make music, tell stories,

tend the dead in their dying
tend the newborn in their birthing,
tend the fire in its breathing,

but I am glad of my times,
these times, the age
we feel in our bones, our rage

of tyre music, speed
annulling the peasant graves
of all my ancestors,

glad of my hands on the wheel
and the cloud of grit as it rises
where JCBs move motherly
widening the packed motorway.


from Glad of These Times (Bloodaxe Books, 2007) , © Helen Dunmore 2007, used by permission of the author and the publisher

Recordings

Helen Dunmore

Helen Dunmore Reading from her poems

1I owned a woman once

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2Glad of these times

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3City lilacs

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4Wild strawberries

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5Extract from translation of Piers Plowman

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6Bristol Docks

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7Jacob's drum

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8Those shady girls

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9A cow here in the June meadow

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10In the Desert Knowing Nothing

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11Poem on the Obliteration of 100,000 Iraqi Soldiers

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12Dolphins whistling

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13The grey lilo

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14Patrick I

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15Mr Lear's ring

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16The butcher's daughter

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17That violet-haired lady

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18To Virgil

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19Litany

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20The sea skater

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21Three Ways of Recovering a Body

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22The surgeon husband

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23The Silent Man in Waterstone's

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24Need

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25Heimat

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26Violets

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27The Deciphering

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28May voyage

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Books by Helen Dunmore