Subscribe to Granta today

Three poems

|

In the third in a series showcasing important contemporary poets, Granta.com publishes three poems by Katha Pollitt, whose debut collection, Antarctic Traveller, won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry. Her new collection, The Mind-Body Problem, in which the poems below appear, is published by Random House in June.

Job

Worse than the boils and sores
and the stench and the terrible flies
was the nattering: Think.
You must have done something.
Things happen for a reason.
What goes around.

His life swept off in a whirlwind of camels and children!
Still, he knew enough to shut up
when his skin cleared pink as a baby’s
and overnight lambs blanketed the burnt fields.
People even said he looked taller
in his fine new robes: You see?
When one door closes, two doors open.

Nobody wanted to hear
about the rain or its father
or leviathan slicing the deeps
at the black edge of the world
under the cold blue light of the Pleiades.

The new sons were strong and didn’t ask difficult questions,
the new daughters beautiful, with glass-green eyes.

Old

No one left to call me Penelope,
mourned the old countess, on being informed of the death
of her last childhood friend. Did she sit long

in the drafty hall, thinking, That’s it then,
nobody left but hangers-on and flunkeys,
why go on? Death can’t help but look friendly
when all your friends live there, while more and more

each day’s like a smoky party
where the music hurts and strangers insist that they know you
till you blink and smile and fade into the wall
and stare at your drink and take a book off the shelf

and close your eyes for a minute and suddenly
everyone you came in with has gone
and people are doing strange things in the corners.
No wonder you look at your watch

and say to no one in particular
If you don’t mind, I think I’ll go home now.

Silent Letter

It’s what you don’t hear
that says struggle
as in wrath and wrack
and wrong and wrench and wrangle.

The noiseless wriggle
of a hooked worm
might be a shiver of pleasure
not a slow writhing

on a scythe from nowhere.
So too the seeming leisure
of a girl alone in her blue
bedroom late at night

who stares at the bitten
end of her pen
and wonders how to write
so that what she writes

stays written.

Read On: Katha Pollitt speaks to Adam Gopnik

Comments (27)

You need to create an account or log in to comment.

  1. poetlover4you

    Sun Nov 22 12:23:25 GMT 2009

    Marvelous, all 3 poems - not a wasted word anywhere !

    I am on my own Odyssey looking for Penelope. Write on, Katha !!!

    David Panckeri, another poet of the particular

    #
  2. Helsesigaretten

    Sun Jan 25 16:26:05 GMT 2015

    Three nice pieces. Keep up the good work both publisher and poet.
    Thank you very much for sharing.

    All the best wishes.
    http://www.helsesigaretten.co.uk

    #
  3. ola Niyi

    Thu Mar 06 18:16:23 GMT 2014

  4. aileen123

    Tue Jan 20 20:43:01 GMT 2015

    That’s it then,
    nobody left but hangers-on and flunkeys,
    why go on? Death can’t help but look friendly
    when all your friends live there, while more and mor
    https://vine.co/Girlsdoporn
    girlsdoporn

    #
  5. aileen123

    Wed Jan 14 17:49:30 GMT 2015

    I am really enjoying reading your well written articles. It looks like you spend a lot of effort and time on your blog. I have bookmarked it and I am looking forward to reading new articles. Keep up the good work.

    https://www.facebook.com/bubblegumcasting
    bubblegum casting

    #
  6. agenbola

    Mon Jan 05 01:35:17 GMT 2015

    Agen Bola : www.ionliga.com
    Agen Bola Sbobet : mitrajudi.com
    Sbobet : arenaliga.com/sbobet/
    Ibcbet : arenaliga.com/agen-ibcbet/
    Agen Poker : kudapoker.com
    Agen Bola Terpercaya : arenaliga.com/
    Rajamerah : goo.gl/lP4dpY

    #
  7. Henry Halwell

    Mon Jan 26 09:59:42 GMT 2015

    Useful information shared..I'm very happy to read this article..thanks for giving us nice info.Fantastic walk-through. I appreciate this post
    http://www.bestpenisproducts.com
    http://bestpenisproducts.com
    bestpenisproducts.com
    www.bestpenisproducts.com/

    #
  8. jimmy

    Sun Aug 17 08:01:59 BST 2014

    I am really enjoying reading your well written articles. It looks like you spend a lot of effort and time on your blog. I have bookmarked it and I am looking forward to reading new articles. Keep up the good work.
    san antonio bail bonds alamo
    http://www.alamobailbonds.com

    #
  9. aileen123

    Mon Jan 12 14:54:18 GMT 2015

    I am really enjoying reading your well written articles. It looks like you spend a lot of effort and time on your blog.
    http://www.sextaperihanna.info/miss-colorado-2012-runner-up-sex-tape/
    girlsdoporn

    #
  10. aileen123

    Fri Jan 09 20:52:43 GMT 2015

    beyond the neutral zone extending to both sidelines. Outside this belt the defense may not block below the waist. It is still the case that no one can block below the waist during a kick or after a change of possession.
    http://www.sextaperihanna.info/
    girlsdoporn

    #
  11. Pregnancy Tips

    Thu Sep 18 22:39:17 BST 2014

  12. alikhan_095

    Tue Jan 13 21:52:32 GMT 2015

    A good blog always comes-up with new and exciting information and while reading I have feel that this blog is really have all those quality that qualify a blog to be a one.I wanted to leave a little comment to support you and wish you a good continuation. Wishing you the best of luck for all your blogging efforts.

    http://kouklaki.com

    #