The Ugly

I love you as I love the Hatchetfish,
the Allmouth, the Angler,
the Sawbelly and Wolf-eel,
the Stoplight Loosejaw, the Fangtooth;

all our sweet bathypelagic ones,
and especially those too terrible or sly
even for Latin names; who staple
their menfolk to the vagina's hide

like scorched purses, stiff with seed;
whom God built to trawl
endless cathedrals of darkness,
their bland eyes gaping like sores;

who would choke down hunger itself,
had it pith and gristle enough;
who carry on their foreheads
the trembling light of the world.


from Grain (Picador, 2009), © John Glenday 2009, used by permission of the author and the publisher.

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1A Difficult Colour

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2A Fairy Tale

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3A Pint of Light

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4A Westray Prayer

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5An Empty Bowl

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6Annunciation

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7At Innernytie

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8Bird Sighs for the Air

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9British Pearls

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10Concerning the Atoms of the Soul

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12Etching of a Line of Trees

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13For Lucy

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14Imagine You are Driving

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16Northeasterly

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17Portage

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18Prayer

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19Promise

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20Song for a Swift

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21The Apple Ghost

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22The Empire of Lights

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23The Flight into Egypt

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24The Garden

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25The Great Silence

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26The Matchsafe

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27The River

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28The Ugly

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29The Walkers

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30Think of It This Way I

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31Think of It This Way II

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32Think of It This Way III

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33Tin

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34Undark

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Books by John Glenday