Elizabeth Jennings: Selected Poems by Elizabeth Jennings - Read Online
Elizabeth Jennings
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This volume draws on the books Elizabeth Jennings published before Growing-Points and includes the poems which established her as one of the most passionate and precise of writers of her time, a woman of humane values, religious vision and natural sympathy.
Published: Carcanet Press Ltd. an imprint of Independent Publishers Group on
ISBN: 0856352829
List price: $16.99
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Selected Poems


The  poems in this book follow the chronology of publication of Elizabeth Jennings’s work and are taken from the Collected  Poems, The  Animals’   Arrival,  Relationships  and Lucidities.

Title Page


Winter Love



Italian Light

Afternoon in Florence


The Idler


The Climbers


The Island

Poem in Winter

Song at the Beginning of Autumn


The Enemies

In This Time

Beyond Possession


For a Child Born Dead



In the Night


Old Man

Taken by Surprise

The Storm

Her Garden

Summer and Time

At Noon




The Parting


A Death

The Shot

Song for a Departure


Telling Stories

A Fear

In a Foreign City

The Roman Forum

A Conversation in the Gardens of the Villa Celimontana, Rome

A Roman Window


San Paolo Fuori le Mura, Rome

Letter from Assisi

The Annunciation

Teresa of Avila

Song for a Birth or a Death

Family Affairs

A Game of Chess

My Grandmother

In Praise of Creation

World I Have not Made

Harvest and Consecration

A World of Light

A Requiem

The Resurrection

Mantegna’s Agony in the Garden

Visit to an Artist


The Diamond Cutter

Stargazers and Others

To a Friend With a Religious Vocation

Greek Statues

The Pride of Life: A Roman Setting

Men Fishing in The Arno

Two Deaths

About These Things

The Instruments

Remembering Fireworks

Sequence in Hospital

Man in a Park

Father to Son

Warning to Parents


The Young Ones

A Mental Hospital Sitting-Room

The Interrogator

Night Sister

Words from Traherne

Samuel Palmer and Chagall

On a Friend’s Relapse and Return to a Mental Clinic

Night Garden of the Asylum

A Depression

Grove House, Iffley

Chinese Art

Love Poem

One Flesh

The Animals’ Arrival

Never to See


A Letter to Peter Levi

Any Poet’s Epitaph


First Evening (from the French of Rimbaud)

The Rooks (from the French of Rimbaud)


A Sonnet

Let Things Alone




The radiance of that star that leans on me

Was shining years ago. The light that now

Glitters up there my eye may never see,

And so the time lag teases me with how

Love that loves now may not reach me until

Its first desire is spent. The star’s impulse

Must wait for eyes to claim it beautiful

And love arrived may find us somewhere else.


Let us have winter loving that the heart

May be in peace and ready to partake

Of the slow pleasure spring would wish to hurry

Or that in summer harshly would awake,

And let us fall apart, O gladly weary,

The white skin shaken like a white snowflake.


When I was happy alone, too young for love

Or to be loved in any but a way

Cloudless and gentle, I would find the day

Long as I wished its length or web to weave.

I did not know or could not know enough

To fret at thought or even try to whittle

A pattern from the shapeless stony stuff

That now confuses since I’ve grown too subtle.

I used the senses, did not seek to find

Something they could not touch, made numb with fear;

I felt the glittering landscape in the mind

And O was happy not to have it clear.


Tree without leaf I stand

Bird unfeathered cannot fly

I a beggar weep and cry

Not for coins but for a hand

To beg with. All my leaves are down,

Feathers flown and hand wrenched off

Bird and tree and beggar grown

Nothing on account of love.


It is not quite a house without the sun

And sun is what we notice, wonder at

As if stone left its hard and quarried state

To be reciprocal to light and let

The falling beams bound and rebound upon

Shutter and wall, each with assurance thrown.

So on descending from the snow we meet

Not warmth of south but houses which contrive

To be designed of sun. The builders have

Instructed hands to know where shadows fall

And made of buildings an obedient stone

Linked to the sun as waters to the moon.


This afternoon disturbs within the mind

No other afternoon, is out of time

Yet lies within a definite sun to end

In night that is in time. Yet hold it here

Our eyes, our minds, to make the city clear.

Light detains no prisoner here at all

In brick or stone but sends a freedom out

Extends a shadow like a deeper thought,

Makes churches move, once still,

Rocking in light as music rocks the bell,

So eyes make room for light and minds make room

For image of the city tangible.

We look down on the city and