The Cry

The child woke to a cry, not his.
It came from beyond: a cry
of the absolute night. But it wasn’t
a ghost. It wasn’t a beast.
It wasn’t a truck or a train. It was
a closer cry, of something like pain,
deep-fetched, both pushing and dragging,
torn, with its long-straggling, humanoid roots
protesting, from a soil that clogged and clung
and was reluctant to let it be born,
breathe air, take flight.
Perhaps some, even most, of the cry
agreed, with a lullaby croon
or wheedle, preferring to sleep,
or to die. But the rest of the cry
had put up a fight against itself:
an urgent, delirious skirmish.
Which it must win. Which it did,
with a short-lasting whimper
of triumph and release.
In the peace that followed,
the child lay awake, unable to explain
why he was stirred by a thing
so ugly, so sad and so frightening;
nor why he wanted to hear it again.


from The Curiosities, unpublished poems, © Christopher Reid 2013, used by permission of the author.

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1The Cab

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2The Cacophony

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3The Cafe

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4The Cage

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5The Calabash

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6The Calm

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7The Canes

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8The Capsule

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9The Caress

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10The Caryatids

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11The Cat

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12The Catapult

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13The Caterwaul

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14The Celibate

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15The Centaur

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16The Change

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17The Children

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18The Chisel

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19The Chocolate

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20The Circumstances

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21The Clarinet

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22The Clatter

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23The Clearing

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24The Clew

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25The Climax

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26The Coin

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27The Competition

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28The Confusions

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29The Connoisseur

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30The Conversation

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31The Corbel

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32The Corncrake

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33The Costume

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34The Cougar

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35The Courier

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36The Coward

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37The Critics

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38The Crossroads

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39The Crow

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40The Cry

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41The Cupboard

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42The Cyborgs

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