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book cover

6 X 9 inches, 96 pages

ISBN 0920806988

The Constancy of Objects

Kathleen McCracken

Penumbra Press Poetry Series, No. 19

THE THREE MOVEMENTS that make up The Constancy of Objects explore connections and disconnections between the internal landscape of the psyche and the external world of places, persons, objects. In examining how concrete, tangible forms shape perception, the speakers in these poems discover the history and identity that lives in and through them. Bones, torcs, a blue wall, a cracked vase spring unexpectedly to the fore in this shifting, surreal border country where, McCracken writes, 'Only the moon and a chapel are constant ... can be /counted upon.'

The moon and the chapel are not
bothered by the hammering
carpenter or the woman dressed
in a sash of gold

The moon and the chapel are a metaphor
for the distant look in the priest's eyes
when he scatters earth and water
or the sort of mask that lovers make at morning

Standing on the cold lawn
the grass grown high
it twists above our knees

the sky is a net of shifting stars

Only the moon and a chapel are constant,
watch the sea where it rises
and the man
where he falls in a rhythm of blood

These things are not bothered
can be
counted upon

The Constancy of Objects


Kathleen McCracken


Kathleen McCracken was born in Dundalk, Ontario, in 1960. After spending time on Vancouver Island, she studied Irish literature and creative writing at York University and the University of Toronto. She now lives in Dublin, Ireland. Her first book of poetry, Reflections, was published in 1978 (Fiddlehead) and was followed by Into Celebrations (Coach House Press) in 1980. Penumbra Press published McCracken's The Constancy of Objects in 1988 and Blue Light, Bay and College in 1991.

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