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Keening

Keening

This is dedicated to the poet Barry McSweeney, and it quotes a few phrases from his work.

The quality of keening is not narrow.
It ranges freely: back roads, low roads,
a violin heard from a window at night,
a silken rubbing, a tune you can't place,
a fellside lapwing signalling in slate grey rain:
all these betoken keening. It travels incognito
as lyric, or as perfume from a dress;
passes customs unfazed; is taken as currency
everywhere, ache bearing witness to ache.
Keening puts words in hungry mouths,
gives tongue without language, longing without hope.
With keening no man’s hand is strong,
no heart true. It mars the wild
and we who were not wild enough are marred
equally. Truly your riches are worthless;
your poverty yet shall be rendered more bitter
with keening, who has no tears. Let blood be drawn
and let the dog be driven far from the hearth
before keening shares tears: beholden to no one
it suffers all woes that none may evade it.


from The Sinking Road (Bloodaxe Books, 2008), © Paul Batchelor 2008, used by permission of the author and the publisher.

Recordings

Paul Batchelor Reading from his Poems

1Secret Papers

2Tree Climbing

3Honesty

4Amaryllis Johnsonii

5Butterwell

6Blodeuwedd

7Artemis

8To a Halver

9from The Anatomy Lesson: 1, 3, 6

10To Photograph a Snow Crystal

11Triage

12Lebiyska Mova

13Keening

14A Treat

15Consider the Starlings

16from Tristia: 1, 4, 6

17Conurbation

18Snow Melt

19from Findings: 1, 2, 5

20Comeuppance

21Suibne Recalls his Freedom

22Suibne Returns to Éorann

23Suibne in the Trees

24Moran's Daughter

25The Butcher's Daughter

26Wild Angelica

27The Damned

Books & cds by Paul Batchelor