Sunday Poem – Carola Luther

I’ve spent a lovely morning re-reading Carola Luther’s two collections to pick a favourite poem.  This is why I started this feature really – to give myself a reason to take time to slow down and read my favourite poets again.

Carola’s first collection is called ‘Walking The Animals’ and the second is ‘Arguing with Malarchy’.  They are both published by Carcanet, and you can buy direct from their website which is

Carcanet publish lots of my favourite poets – just looking over my shoulder at the book case – Kei Miller, Bill Manhire, Jane Draycott so the website is well worth checking out.  You can also sign up to an email newsletter which normally has offers and free poems in it!

Anyway, back to Carola – it was hard trying to pick a favourite.  I narrowed it down to eight across the two books, but decided to go for ‘Mourning’ from ‘Walking the Animals’.   I think this was maybe the poem that gave me the open door into Carola’s work – it is like a prayer or a benediction, and despite its title, is full of hope.  I think it is also representative of Carola’s work in the way it weaves and references animals and nature into the fabric of the poem.

But listen to this quote from the poem ‘Moving House’ from ‘Arguing with Malarchy’ and you can see why it was hard to choose only one…

‘It began with the owl moving into the attic
under the chimney where the wind lived like an animal,
then the mouse and its offspring bedding down
in softnesses long forgotten in the cellar, then spiders,
many of them, hanging their shadows in string bags
beneath them, touching toes with themselves under lintel
and eave….’

The poem continues on from there on its headlong way through herons, owls, starlings, neighbours, cars and finishes…well, I won’t say where it finishes, because that will spoil it if you want to read the poem! 

Anyway here is the Sunday Poem

Mourning by Carola Luther

When I am hopeful I see
there is not much difference
between a rock and a rhino
that a rhino is warmed-up stone
that stone is tight water
that water is wind

When I am hopeful I see
there is not much difference
between giraffe and green trees
that trees are slow thoughts
that thoughts are quick fish
that fish are loose flecks
of river-light running
and rivers are longing.

When I am hopeful I see
there is not much difference
between a lion and warm wood
that wood is slow flame
that flame is lit sand
that sand is dry sea
that sea is wet sky
that sky is still mountain moving
from where I can reach
and touch you.

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