The Grizzly Den

Knowledge is Power

Get Your Poetry Fix Here!

Posted by grizzlymedia on April 6, 2008

poetry

According to Contemporary Writers.com today’s author, poet and novelist Ciaran Carson was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in 1948. After graduating from Queen’s University, Belfast, he worked for the Arts Council of Northern Ireland until 1998. He won an Eric Gregory Award in 1978.

His collections of poetry include The Irish for No (1987), winner of the Alice Hunt Bartlett Award; Belfast Confetti (1990), which won the Irish Times Irish Literature Prize for Poetry; and First Language: Poems (1993), winner of the T. S. Eliot Prize. His prose includes The Star Factory (1997) and Fishing for Amber (1999). His most recent novel, Shamrock Tea (2001), explores themes present in Jan van Eyck’s painting The Arnolfini Marriage. His translation of Dante’s Inferno was published in November 2002. His most recent collection is Breaking News (2003), winner of the Forward Poetry Prize (Best Poetry Collection of the Year).

Ciaran Carson is also an accomplished musician, and is the author of Last Night’s Fun: About Time, Food and Music (1996), a study of Irish traditional music. He lives in Belfast.

The Assignation
by Ciaran Carson

I think I must have told him my name was Juliette,
with four syllables, you said, to go with violette.

I envisaged the violet air that presages snow,
the dark campaniles of a city beginning to blur

a malfunctioning violet neon pharmacy sign
jittering away all night through the dimity curtains.

Near dawn you opened them to a deep fall and discovered
a line of solitary footprints leading to a porch:

a smell of candle-wax and frankincense; the dim murmur
of a liturgy you knew but whose language you did not.

The statues were shrouded in Lenten violet, save one,
a Virgin in a cope of voile so white as to be blue.

As was the custom there, your host informed you afterwards—
the church was dedicated to Our Lady of the Snows.

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