Geoffrey Hill

POETRY: Canaan by Geoffrey Hill

October 29, 2017

I They march at God’s pleasure through Flanders with machine-pistols, chorales, cannon of obese bronze, with groaning pushcarts, to topple Baal. At crossroads they hoist corpses and soiled banners of the Lamb. The sun takes assize. Aloof the blades of oblation rise, fall, as though they were not obstructed by blades of bone. II Fourier’s children their steeds, kazoos, the splashed fetlocks— deliquescent manna that most resembles a sudden urban sleet— shedding innocent blood their ragged fusillade a bit of a laugh indifferent hatred stained with their own works: détentes of corpse-gas reactive furnaces of the spirit immemorial sightings in Canaan: fig trees and planted vines and the groves unguarded messuage for jackals. [...]

POETRY: The Bibliographers by Geoffrey Hill

October 22, 2017

Lucifer blazing in superb effigies Among the world’s ambitious tragedies, Heaven-sent gift to the dark ages, Now, in the finest-possible light, We approach you; can estimate Your not unnatural height. Though the discrete progeny, Out of their swim, go deflated and dry, We know the feel of you, archaic beauty, Between the tombs, where the tombs still extrude, Overshadowing the sun-struck world: (The shadow-god envisaged in no [...]

POETRY: In Memory Of Jane Fraser by Geoffrey Hill

October 11, 2017

When snow like sheep lay in the fold And winds went begging at each door, And the far hills were blue with cold, And a cold shroud lay on the moor, She kept the siege. And every day We watched her brooking over death Like a strong bird above its prey. The room filled with the kettle’s breath. Damp curtains glued against the pane Sealed time away. Her body froze As if to freeze us all, and chain Creation to a stunned repose. She died before the world could stir. In March the ice unloosed the brook And water ruffled the sun’s hair. Dead cones upon the alder [...]

POETRY: Genesis by Geoffrey Hill

October 7, 2017

I Against the burly air I strode Crying the miracles of God. And first I brought the sea to bear Upon the dead weight of the land; And the waves flourished at my prayer, The rivers spawned their sand. And where the streams were salt and full The tough pig-headed salmon strove, Ramming the ebb, in the tide’s pull, To reach the steady hills above. II The second day I stood and saw The osprey plunge with triggered claw, Feathering blood along the shore, To lay the living sinew bare. And the third day I cried: “Beware The soft-voiced owl, the ferret’s smile, The hawk’s deliberate stoop in air, Cold eyes, and bodies hooped in steel, Forever bent upon the kill.” III And I renounced, on the fourth day, This fierce [...]

POETRY: Lachrimae Amantis by Geoffrey Hill

March 29, 2013

(Note: lachrimae amantis means tears of the lover in Latin) What is there in my heart that you should sue so fiercely for its love? What kind of care brings you as though a stranger to my door through the long night and in the icy dew seeking the heart that will not harbor you, that keeps itself religiously secure? At this dark solstice filled with frost and fire your passion’s ancient wounds must bleed anew. So many nights the angel of my house has fed such urgent comfort through a dream, whispered “your lord is coming, he is close” that I have drowsed half-faithful for a time bathed in pure tones of promise and remorse: “tomorrow I shall wake to welcome [...]

POETRY: Christmas Trees by Geoffrey Hill

December 26, 2012

Bonhoeffer in his skylit cell bleached by the flares’ candescent fall, pacing out his own citadel, restores the broken themes of praise, encourages our borrowed days, by logic of his sacrifice. Against wild reasons of the state his words are quiet but not too quiet. We hear too late or not too [...]