About the Author:
Kathleen Raine is both poet and scholar. She is an internationally respected critic of William Blake and W.B. Yeats and has won many literary awards including the Harriet Monroe Prize and the Edna St. Vincent Millay Prize from the American Poetry Society. She lives in London.
|Product dimensions:||6.38(w) x 9.58(h) x 1.23(d)|
Read an Excerpt
A bird sings on a matin tree
'Once such a bird was I.'
The sky's gaze says
'Remember your mother.'
Seas, trees and voices cry
'Nature is your nature.'
'I am what is not what it was.'
Seas, trees, and bird, alas!
Sea, tree, and bird was I.
'SEE, SEE CHRIST'S BLOOD STREAMS
IN THE FIRMAMENT'
This planetary blood
In the space of bounded life's
Attraction and repulsion
Widening on the rude
Improvisation that the senses build
To mark the victories
The streaming blood-bright
Iron-torrent of the wounds
As the cloudy mansions
Melt into clouds themselves
Beyond the fought-on
There is a poem on the way,
There is a poem all round me,
The poem is in the near future,
The poem isin the upper air
Above the foggy atmosphere
It hovers, a spirit
That I would make incarnate.
Let my body sweat
Let snakes torment my breast
My eyes be blind, ears deaf, hands distraught
Mouth parched, uterus cut out,
Belly slashed, back lashed,
Tongue slivered into thongs of leather
Rain stones inserted in my breasts,
If only the lips may speak,
If only the god will come.
Full of desire I lay, the sky wounding me,
Each cloud a ship without me sailing, each tree
Possessing what my soul lacked, tranquillity.
Waiting for the longed-for voice to speak
Through the mute telephone, my body grew weak
With the well-known and mortal death, heartbreak.
The language I knew best, my human speech
Forsook my fingers, and out of reach
Were Homer's ghosts, the savage conches of the beach.
Then the sky spoke to me in language clear,
Familiar as the heart, than love more near.
The sky said to my soul, 'You have what you desire.
'Know now that you are born along with these
Clouds, winds, and stars, and ever-moving seas
And forest dwellers. This your nature is.
Lift up your heart again without fear,
Sleep in the tomb, or breathe the living air,
This world you with the flower and with the tiger share.'
Then I saw every visible substance turn
Into immortal, every cell new born
Burned with the holy fire of passion.
This world I saw as on her judgment day
When the war ends, and the sky rolls away,
And all is light, love and eternity.
I saw the sun step like a gentleman
Dressed in black and proud as sin.
I saw the sun walk across London
Like a young M.P. risen to the occasion.
His step was light, his tread was dancing,
His lips were smiling, his eyes glancing.
Over the Cenotaph in Whitehall
The sun took the wicket with my skull.
The sun plays tennis in the court of Geneva
With the guts of a Finn and the head of an Emperor,
The sun plays squash in a tomb of marble,
The horses of Apocalypse are in his stable.
The sun plays a game of darts in Spain,
Three by three in flight formation,
The invincible wheels of his yellow car
Are the discs that kindle the Chinese war.
The sun shows the world to the world,
Turns its own ghost on the terrified crowd,
Then plunges all images into the ocean
Of the nightly mass emotion.
Games of chance, and games of skill,
All his sports are games to kill.
I saw the murderer at evening lie
Bleeding on the deathbed sky.
His hyacinth breath, his laurel hair,
His blinding sight, his moving air,
My love, my grief, my weariness, my fears
Hid from me in a night of tears.
FOR going out by night there is no place.
The sun upon the dark no region casts,
The rose beyond the evening cannot pass.
The flying sun withdraws colour and place,
Time, and all material attributes
The rose beyond the angel cannot pass.
First of all flowers the crimson are in shade
With the unborn, the sleeping and the dead
There is no place for going out by night.
And creatures all make room within the heart
The heart no region and no sun requires,
Nor measuring time nor space for its desires.
The heart no region and no light requires,
The cannibal heart, that swallows up itself
Past the angelic sun, returns to life.
And errant night upon the table finds
That bread and wine upon the holy stone,
The body of the dead, and the unborn.
Since for going out by night there is no place
For the unborn, the sleeping, and the dead,
What sun, what sin, decrees the grail to fade?
THE RED LIGHT
The women burn throughout the dead of night,
Their red signs through the curtained windows peep.
What sacrilegious hand puts out the light,
And for what fallen body do they weep?
Christ, as I die, I own it is for thee,
Love, human nature, origin and shame.
The same light in the shrine and brothel see,
Wherever human passion lights its flame.
For of that red star are we virgins all,
And the red heart is stilled by the red fire
That moves the spirit more than its desire
Towards unmoving love, the point of will.
Table of Contents
|From Stone and Flower (1943)|
|`See, see Christ's blood streams in the firmament'||3|
|The Red Light||7|
|Tu non se' in terra, si come tu credi||8|
|Night in Martindale||9|
|The Night-Blowing Cereus||10|
|To my Mountain||11|
|At the Waterfall||12|
|In the Beck||14|
|A Strange Evening||15|
|On Leaving Ullswater||15|
|The Wind of Time||17|
|The Golden Leaf||18|
|Happy the captive and enchanted souls||18|
|The Silver Stag||20|
|The Speech of Birds||21|
|New Year 1943||23|
|The Healing Spring||24|
|From Living in Time (1946)|
|Seen in a Glass||29|
|The Trees in Tubs||30|
|Mourning in Spring 1943||30|
|The Tree of Heaven||32|
|Four Poems of Mary Magdalene||33|
|From The Pythoness (1949)|
|Word Made Flesh||45|
|The Transit of the Gods||50|
|Out of Nothing||51|
|Question and Answer||53|
|Woman to Lover||55|
|Peace of Mind||58|
|The End of Love||58|
|The Year One (1952)|
|Spell Against Sorrow||71|
|Spell to Bring Lost Creatures Home||73|
|Spell of Creation||74|
|Amo ergo sum||76|
|Spell of Sleep||77|
|Spell of Safekeeping||78|
|Two Invocations of Death||79|
|A Word Known to the Dead||82|
|Three Poems on Ilusion||83|
|The Holy Shroud||86|
|Three Poems of Incarnation||87|
|The Marriage of Psyche||92|
|The Locked Gates||99|
|Message from Home||99|
|The Hollow Hill (1965)|
|Kore in Hades||107|
|2. Golden Flowers||109|
|3. The Loch||110|
|4. The Summit||111|
|The Hollow Hill||115|
|The Reflected Light||123|
|1. The Ancient Speech||124|
|2. Highland Graveyard||124|
|3. The Island Cross||125|
|4. Nameless Islets||126|
|5. Stone on High Crag||127|
|The Eighth Sphere||131|
|As a child forgotten||133|
|Nine Italian Poems|
|Old Paintings on Italian Walls||136|
|Daisies of Florence||137|
|The Eternal Child||138|
|Soliloquies upon Love||142|
|From The Lost Country (1971)|
|A House of Music||151|
|Letter to Pierre Emmanuel||153|
|A Painting by Winifred Nicholson||157|
|By the River Eden||158|
|Seen from the Window of a Railway-Carriage||161|
|April's new apple buds on an old lichened tree||162|
|I felt, under my old breasts, this April day||162|
|`There Shall be no More Sea'||163|
|On an Ancient Isle||165|
|In Answer to a Letter asking me for Volumes of my Early|
|Message to Gavin||168|
|Long ago I thought you young, bright daimon||169|
|Once upon earth they stood||170|
|Homage to C. G. Jung||171|
|A Dream of Roses||173|
|Told in a Dream||176|
|On a Deserted Shore (1973)||178|
|From The Oval Portrait (1977)|
|What is it to be old||221|
|The Oval Portrait||222|
|Your gift of life was idleness||224|
|With a wave of her old hand||226|
|For the Visitor's Book||227|
|Maire Macrae's Song||229|
|Deserted Village on Mingulay||229|
|Not that I have forgotten||231|
|I went out in the naked night||231|
|Eider afloat in the bay||232|
|Crossing the sound I summoned you in thought||233|
|All that is||233|
|Blue butterflies' eyed wings||234|
|Petal of white rose||234|
|On basalt organ-pipes||234|
|The Poet Answers the Accuser||235|
|Harvest of learning I have reaped||237|
|The very leaves of the acacia tree are London||238|
|Afternoon sunlight plays||238|
|From The Oracle in the Heart (1980)|
|I who am what the dead have made||243|
|Into what pattern, into what music have the spheres|
|In My Seventieth Year||244|
|Book of Hours||246|
|A Love Remembered||247|
|The Oracle in the Heart||249|
|Behind the Lids of Sleep||250|
|Ah, God, I may not hate||254|
|My Mothers Birthday||255|
|Sweet briar fragrance on the air||255|
|Returning from Church||256|
|Too many memories confuse the old||257|
|Canna's Basalt Crags||258|
|Homage to Rutland Boughton||259|
|As a hurt child refuses comfort||259|
|A Candle-lit Room||262|
|From The Presence (1987)|
|In Paralda's Kingdom||279|
|Light Over Water||281|
|A small matter||283|
|World's music changes||284|
|Tell me, dark world||284|
|I had meant to write a different poem||285|
|Lily of the Valley||286|
|Threading my way, devious in its weaving||287|
|Say all is illusion||289|
|That flash of joy||289|
|An Old Story||291|
|The Invisible Kingdom||297|
|Who Are We?||301|
|A Candle for All Saints, All Souls||302|
|Words of Wisdom||304|
|From Living With Mystery (1992)|
|Hymn to Time||307|
|Memory of Sarnath||310|
|A Head of Parvati||311|
|Not in Time||312|
|Nature changes at the speed of life||317|
|The turquoise sunset evening sky||320|
|Prayer to the Lord Shiva||321|
|Wanting no longer those things that from day to day||322|
|At the back-end of time||323|
|After Hearing a Recording of Music by Hildegard of Bingen||324|
|Do I imagine reality||325|
|Petite Messe Solennelle||325|
|Uncollected and New Poems|
|Who listens, when in the concert-hall||329|
|On a Shell-strewn Beach||329|
|Descent into Hades||331|
|The Chartres Annunciation||332|
|My Father's Birthday||333|
What People are Saying About This
A meditative, intimate, feminine poet with a real gift...they are thoughtful poems, full of ideas and feeling for Nature.
Miss Raine is in nature, as simply as a shell on a shore or a bird in a tree... When her nicety of observation (and she can observe as closely as a professional naturalist) coincides with a deep level of feeling, her poems fuse spirit and substance in a remarkable way.