Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Introducing Wayne Clifford's Jane Again

The proofs to Wayne Clifford's wonderful collection Jane Again arrived in the post today, so it seemed a good time to introduce you to her. Yes, as this first poem in the collection indicates, you may have met her before: W. B. Yeats made use of her in a rather self-serving fashion in a handful of poems a few years back. She's given much more elbow room here, and has been given close to a century to stew in her juices, resulting in an irreverent, bawdy, humourous, thoughtful and moving collection, our only poetry title this spring. Jane has agreed to make a few appearances here between now and the time of publication, so do check back.

Crazy Jane Gets Born Again

Yeats drew her old so she’d agree
with what his doubt of age declined
to credit to mortality
the moment body’s left behind.
Her scoffing was his guarantee.
He knew the game whereby skull grinned.

Ask her, then, what she remembers
breath-robbed in that old man’s mind.
Have her count back gyral numbers
ruffling on his pinioned wind.
She’ll cite his vulgate to pretenders
her heart’s pentecosts rescind.

Allow she satisfy your fright;
take her passion yours for free;
tell her she must quench the night
no less than stairs down to the sea.
Chant her porous as the light
shades may write on, that you see.

As you bunk alone down by her,
try, with angel-wrestling might,
to mix some pity with your hunger.
Make your purpose angel’s plight,
that no trite hope be her torture,
no sane, considered love, her flight.

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