We chose ‘Book’ by Meg Peacocke to be our first Friday Poem. At 91, Peacocke writes with a beguiling mixture of wisdom, candour and playfulness. ‘Book’ is full of startling imagery, allusion, word play and dry humour. It’s a list poem, kind of, which links the formative and ritual moments in a life lived richly, and ends on a note of wry defiance: what’s done is done. Don’t mess with this old lady, she’s seen it all.
The Book of the unknown foetus.
The Book of cats in bags, pigs in pokes,
Moses in baskets with all the eggs.
The Book of errors, terrors, accidents (happy),
accidents (unhappy, Vol. II).
The Book of rambling worms and moths,
half a page, half a page onward, coding
and ciphering in plainsong,
perishing under the rose.
The Book of random inclinations,
of keys, doors, entrances, exits
with bears, sniggering under sheets,
loves on the brink of hatreds, holy
alliances, barefoot dances,
losses, peregrine snatches.
The Book of direct and indirect speech,
The Book of lies hidden in plain sight
which omits what most matters, riddling
Lazarus gospel. Thumb through it if you must,
it’s written and can’t be amended, this book.