I lay down under the cherry trees
in our garden where the grass was balding

a little, and looked up into the branches.
I was learning the catechism,

and I went over a few questions
and answers as absolutes; I was thinking

of a dance I had been to on a farm
a dress I wore, something I said

too revealing of feeling;
those chicks left in an open crate

in the shade behind the farm, near a wall,
came into my mind. I thought of how

they might have struggled all wet
out of their eggs, like light escaping;

Senorita Morales came into my thoughts too,
her long fingernails when she pointed out

where the accents should go over the words
on the blackboard, and the way she said

penultima silaba and antepenultima;
and all these thoughts lightly hooked together

like young girls walking down the street
holding each others’ hands by the little finger.

by Jane Duran

© Jane Duran, 2010. ‘Accents’ is taken from the book Graceline, and reprinted by permission of Enitharmon Press.

Notes courtesy of Enitharmon:

As a young girl, Jane Duran moved to Chile with her family, travelling from New York to Valparaiso on the Santa Barbara, one of the Grace Line fleet. This long journey, passing through the Panama Canal and down the Pacific coast of Latin America, has inspired her collection of poems Graceline. These meditative poems cross over continually between illusion and reality, past and present. Although they evoke the journey, and the extraordinary landscapes of Chile, they also explore darker undercurrents. Her sequence ‘Panama Canal’ evokes the terrors of the Canal’s construction; a sequence on the regime of Augusto Pinochet (‘Invisible Ink’) interweaves cityscapes and landscapes with allusions to the cruelties and bereavements of that time. But the poems are also about her life as a young girl in Chile, the impact of the Chilean landscape on her, and convey a powerful feeling of love for that country. You can learn more about her book here, and more about Jane Duran here. At the second link you can hear her reading from her own work.

Enitharmon Press takes its name from a William Blake character who represents spiritual beauty and poetic inspiration. Founded in 1967 with an emphasis on independence and quality, Enitharmon has been associated with such figures as Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter and Kathleen Raine. Enitharmon also commissions internationally renowned collaborations between artists, including Gilbert & George, and poets, including Seamus Heaney, under the Enitharmon Editions imprint. Discover more about Enitharmon here.

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