"Separation": a poem by Claire Crowther

Snails might shout
crawling from mint to balm “I burn”
or call from lovage and hosta

“I’m burning dry”
while my husband is falling asleep
in the sun away by Muker Beck,

where oyster catchers
freeze on their nests and only water stays
awake, irritably controlled, pushing stones,

stuck, stuck, stuck, stuck, till we both are
woken by pain with its orange beak.

This article first appeared in the 16 September 2013 issue of the New Statesman, Syria: The deadly stalemate

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“Minoan pendant”: a new poem by Mark Granier

“Yes – I press my nose / to the pleasantly warm glass – / it’s a copy of one I saw / cased in the cool museum”

Yes – I press my nose
to the pleasantly warm glass –
it’s a copy of one I saw
cased in the cool museum –
gold beaten to honey, a grainy
oval dollop, flanked by two
slim symmetrical bees –

garland for a civilisation’s
rise and collapse, eye-dropped
five thousand years: a flash
of evening sun on a windscreen
or wing mirror – Heraklion’s
scooter-life buzzing and humming –

as I step in to browse, become
mesmerised by the warm
dark eyes of the woman
who gives her spiel and moves
softly and with such grace,
that, after leaving, I hesitate

a moment on the pavement
then re-enter with a question
I know not to ask, but ask
anyway, to hear her voice
soften even more as she smiles
and shakes her hair – no.

Mark Granier is an Irish poet and photographer. He is the author of four collections of poetry, most recently Haunt (Salmon).

This article first appeared in the 16 June 2016 issue of the New Statesman, Britain on the brink