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Ballymaloe International Poetry Prize 2014

€10,000 Ballymaloe International Poetry Prize: Entries Now Open

aerogrammestudio.com

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep. Robert Frost

Hay by Ted Hughes, via YouTube.

Ted Hughes - Pike (from Lupercal, 1960), via YouTube.

Coming - Phillip Larkin On longer evenings, Light, chill and yellow, Bathes the serene Foreheads of houses. A thrush sings, Laurel-surrounded In the deep bare garden, Its fresh-peeled voice Astonishing the brickwork. It will be spring soon, It will be spring soon — And I, whose childhood Is a forgotten boredom, Feel like a child Who comes on a scene Of adult reconciling, And can understand nothing But the unusual laughter, And starts to be happy.

The Mower By Philip Larkin The mower stalled, twice; kneeling, I found A hedgehog jammed up against the blades, Killed. It had been in the long grass. I had seen it before, and even fed it, once. Now I had mauled its unobtrusive world Unmendably. Burial was no help: Next morning I got up and it did not. The first day after a death, the new absence Is always the same; we should be careful Of each other, we should be kind While there is still time.

Meditation at Lagunitas By Robert Hass All the new thinking is about loss. In this it resembles all the old thinking. The idea, for example, that each particular erases the luminous clarity of a general idea. That the clown- faced woodpecker probing the dead sculpted trunk of that black birch is, by his presence, some tragic falling off from a first world of undivided light. Or the other notion that, because there is in this world no one thing to which the bramble of blackberry corresponds, a word is elegy to what it signifies. We talked about it late last night and in the voice of my friend, there was a thin wire of grief, a tone almost querulous. After a while I understood that, talking this way, everything dissolves: justice, pine, hair, woman, you and I. There was a woman I made love to and I remembered how, holding her small shoulders in my hands sometimes, I felt a violent wonder at her presence like a thirst for salt, for my childhood river with its island willows, silly music from the pleasure boat, muddy places where we caught the little orange-silver fish called pumpkinseed. It hardly had to do with her. Longing, we say, because desire is full of endless distances. I must have been the same to her. But I remember so much, the way her hands dismantled bread, the thing her father said that hurt her, what she dreamed. There are moments when the body is as numinous as words, days that are the good flesh continuing. Such tenderness, those afternoons and evenings, saying blackberry, blackberry, blackberry.