The Silence by Gillian Clarke

Gillian Clarke
A Poetry Book Society Spring Recommendation 2024

‘The days have no names.
The day they count the dead,
the day they closed the doors,
turned off the lights.

We’re still here in the silence,
hearing tree-talk,
the wind’s secrets,
the company of birds.’
(‘The Year of the Dead’)

The poems in Gillian Clarke's The Silence begin during lockdown, to whose silences Clarke listens so attentively that other voices emerge. As the book progresses, that silence deepens, in the poems about her mother and childhood, about the Great War and its aftermaths, and in her continuing attention to Welsh places and names, and the rituals which make that world come in to focus. In these scrupulous, musical poems, Clarke finds consolation in how silence makes room for memory and for the company of the animal- and bird-life which surrounds us. These poems, compulsively returning to key images and formative moments, echo and bring back other ways of living to the book's present moment.

Subjects: Poems, Poetry

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This title is available in the following collections: Carcanet Collection  

  • First Issue: The Silence
  • Latest Issue: The Silence
  • Issue Count: 1
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