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New Irish Voices
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Liberty Walks Naked
by Maram al-Masri, trans. Theo Dorgan

 

 

Done Dating DJs
Done Dating DJs
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Richesses

Richesses: Francophone Songwriter Poets
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CHRISTOPHER NORTH

 

 

 

Christopher North’s  first collection A Mesh of Wires published by Smith Doorstop was short-listed for the Forward Prize in 1999. He has published two collections since: Explaining the Circumstances (2010) and The Night Surveyor (2014) and a joint, bilingual collection Al Otro Lado del Aguilar (2011) with Terry Gifford  - all with Oversteps Books. His most recent pamphlet collection is Wolves Recently Sighted (Templar Poetry 2014). He is chair of the Poetry Society’s Stanza Alacant. Since 2002 with his wife Marisa, he has facilitated poetry writing retreats and courses at, Almassera Vella in Relleu, Alicante Spain. (www.oldolivepress.com)

 

 

 

 

 

The Linguists

 

 

At first no-one recognised it.
It was assumed to be some excess thunder
in one or two valleys in the Aitana Range,

a mumbling that bounced down ravines
in atonal rhythm – ignorable,
because not so far from the norm.

But one morning a jeepful of Buddhists
roared into the town hall car park
screaming that all their books were redundant,

 

everything had changed. They were from a cloudy ridge,
below Peña Roc and caused a commotion
of such intensity they were arrested.

 

Fortunately their lawyer was discerning.
She called a press conference in Alicante:
Ladies and Gentlemen – the mountains are speaking.

 

Linguists set up a series of research programmes:
some based in the Tatras, others beside Machu Picchu,
one deep within a rocket silo in the Urals

 

and a two man team were appointed to assess
the scarcely audible murmurings
of the Pensacola Range in Antarctica.

 

After six months of detailed analysis a spokesmen confirmed
that the language of the mountains was translatable.
It was found light on verbs, complex in its ordering of nouns

 

and dialectical variation was noted between
the northern and the southern hemispheres.
Southern ranges were rich in sibilants.

 

But what are they saying?’ shouted the reporters
from their world of plains and level suburbs.
The linguist’s eyes were full of distant possibilities.

 

Their arrangement  of tenses is impressive,  one said,
but the seemingly emphatic mode is a supra-imperative:
they suggest we prepare for water.

 

©2017 Christopher North

 

 

Author Links

 

Shortlisted poem for the Percy French Poetry Prize 2013

'The Dog' at Anthony Wilson's blog

'At Varallo' in poetry p f

 

 

 

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