The Frost Fairs

by John McCullogh

McCullogh's first collection of poetry employs a colloquial and conversational style, combined with unusual juxtapositions, to create otherworldly effects, sometimes dark and dreamlike – other times sensuous and tender. Impermanence, like the shifting sands and melting ice, illustrate the fragility of human relationships.


where we turned off the dissolving path
to chance uncertain territory. High dunes

like hills of sugar, so smooth we lost whole feet
but found ourselves again, defied dense sky

by making our own light. We followed
the roaming fence and, like the rabbits

darting over marram, were never caught out.
We reached a new country, the sea

at first too far and blocked by swerving
channels – mercury in the dimness –

but we weren’t afraid to innovate,
rolling up trousers for running jumps,

splatting down with a squelch to write names
in sand among the casualties

of starfish, bladderwrack.

from Talacre


Any collection by Elizabeth Bishop
Any collection by by Thom Gunn
Any collection by by Don Paterson

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