Not until she was in her fifties did Meg Peacocke start publishing her work. At the time, she was running a small hill farm in Cumbria (nothing about her poetry trajectory was run of the mill).
Now in her nineties, with no fewer than seven collections under her belt, she’s celebrating another rush of poems, unexpected and joyous in their arrival.
For any nonagenarian, the body is beginning to crumble. Nonetheless, her mental clarity about this phase of life is unrivalled. Age has not diminished her judgement in the least. It has sharpened it. This is a poet in her prime and this is a wonderful book.
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.