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PEACOCKE, M.R.

In Praise of Aunts

Paperback

1904324495

Original Cover Price:

£7.95

Drysdale,-Between-Dryden-&-04

IN PRAISE OF AUNTS
Poems by M.R. Peacocke

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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, 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 three collections, Marginal Land (Peterloo, 1988), Selves (Peterloo, 1995) and Speaking of the Dead (Peterloo, 2003) received exceptionally favourable review coverage.

’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 . . . ‘
Stephen Knight, London Magazine (reviewing Marginal Land)

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 . . .’
John Lucas, Stand (reviewing Selves)

‘What fascinates me in (Peacocke’s) poetry are the moments of change in which things die into each other without loss of essential energy or force. It’s a question of perception. It also calls to our need for a concise vocabulary for the merits of being alive. Peacocke shares this precision of language with the late American poet Elizabeth Bishop. Both have a bristly perceptive clarity for minutiae, and for the wry double-take on detail that can be deadly as well as funny.’
David Morley, Guardian (reviewing Speaking of the Dead)

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In Praise of Aunts

I conjoure Aunts, sly laughters,
Aunts not of the blood
but of the spirit; invite
from their cold cots for scones and tea
Aunts who could cheat
and fib for fun, playing Old Maid
in silent riot, keeping a card
up a knickerleg; Aunts who would never
hurt a child to do it good;

Aunts without men, good sports,
bachelor Aunts eternally retired
who liked dogs, who could whistle,
Aunts with pockets, pocketsful
of small timely treats,
and not wincing at stickiness
nor at blood as they strode
through the war, through the wards,
voluntary servant goddesses.

You women long at peace,
rooted in sycamore scrub
beneath St. Peter’s topsyturvy stones
without memorial: I will praise
your names, your dented hats and bulging shoes,
who pedalled across my dream
last night with shining spokes and hubs
and cracked halloos and glimpse of knees,
old children in your upright childless bones.

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IN PRAISE OF AUNTS
Price £7.95 per copy post free (£5.30 post free to Associate Members)
Cover illustration: Richard Rodney Bennett
Publication: 2008 (64 pages laminated paperback)