Peterloo Poets

Poetry Publishers 1972 - 2009





Speaking of the Dead



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Poems by M.R. Peacocke


Meg Peacocke was born in 1930 and grew up in South Devon. She went up to Oxford to read English, but spent more time on music. After teaching, travelling, marriage and bringing up a family of four, a training in counselling and work in a children's cancer unit, she moved to a small hill farm in Cumbria where she still lives. Her first two collections, Marginal Land (Peterloo, 1988) and Selves (Peterloo, 1995), received exceptionally favourable review coverage.

Extracts from reviews of Marginal Land:

’Like Larkin, Peacocke has that all-too-rare gift of knowing how to make a memorable poem. She finds her material everywhere: the collection is sprinkled with reported speech, notebook jottings, conversations, postcard greetings, a newspaper headline . . . Even when she's experimenting, there's a directness and simplicity to her work - plain language, strong rhythms, full rhymes.’
Stephen Knight, London Magazine

Extracts from reviews of Selves:

I love this poem (“A History of the Thé Dansant”) so much I am probably in danger of over-praising it. So I will say merely that its truly inventive elegance, wit, and immaculately-controlled feeling are matched by at least a half a dozen other poems in this gem of a collection . . . Peacocke's ear is so sure both for cadence and for sonic effect of vowel, plosive, sibilant. Beg, steal, borrow (or better still buy) Selves. It's the real thing.’
John Lucas, Stand

’a very unusual collection.’
Penelope Fitzgerald, Independent
(1996 Book of the Year Choice)


Speaking of the Dead

The moment when you say, Not any more.
Without pain or anger, something gives,
like a wrapping of ancient linen
or leather that is spent; and your eye
can gaze into a lost eye and feel
no rancour, because now it comprehends
how the first subtle binding was made.
Your freed hands stretch, unswaddled limbs,
and you laugh, learning the air and rain.

For a while these dead may search, fumbling
after lost authority. Dismiss them?
They fade of themselves, carrying no weight,
their language of command obsolescent.
You feel for them, seeing how bruised,
powerless under their own dry constraints
and chafed they are; can love them, almost,
and leave them, busy at their mutual task
of burying and being buried.


Price £7.95 per copy post free (£5.30 post free to Associate Members)
Cover illustration: 'Untitled 1995' by Terry Frost. © Terry Frost
Publication: SPRING 2003 (61 pages laminated paperback)