The Poem: 2

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The Independent Online
----------------------------------------------------------------- The Poem in Itself ----------------------------------------------------------------- The poise of time. The history of speech. Articulation. Subject brought to heel. The poem is filled and animated, rich With hints and hopes, with how you wish to feel. It won't be faked or ever forced. You must Seek out its landscape even when it's yours. The attitude for you is total trust Not of your own but of the poem's powers. It is a gift, a spell, a fabric wrought Seamless. It also is a way to pray By which I mean it's ceremonious thought Spoken through you. You must not let it stray. It asks for silence sometimes, won't be bought. It's given, yet commands you to obey. -----------------------------------------------------------------

Elizabeth Jennings was born in Lincolnshire in 1926 and lives in Oxford. Her work has been set for A-levels and is frequently anthologised. Times and Seasons is published by Carcanet (208-212 Corn Exchange, Manchester M4 3BQ) at pounds 6.95