A Nobel prize winning poet, writing in English, that I had barely heard of. Shamed by my ignorance of the work o, I started to read her in bulk. I started withA Village Life,2009, which is comparatively recent, and which I will return to. I followed up withThe First Five Books(Carcanet, 1997) which includes all her work up toArarat(1990). The prevailing impression from this collection was gloomy. In fact, when I read ‘The Undertaking’ , the opening poem in ‘The Apple Trees’ which is the second section ofThe House on Marshland(1975), I was surprised by how upbeat it was.
The dark lifts, imagine, in your lifetime.
the sun is shining,
everywhere you turn is luck.
At the same time, I asked myself how long this sudden cheerfulness would last.
Five pages later the poem ’12.6.71’ opened and closed thus:
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