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COUNTING RAIN

Born in 1969, Karen Dennison's passion for poetry began in her early thirties.

 

Her poems have been published in South, Orbis, The New Writer, Ink Sweat and Tears and poetrywivenhoe 2011.

 

Karen won the Indigo Dreams Collection Competition in 2011.

 

 

 

 

 

COUNTING RAIN

 

KAREN DENNISON

 

ISBN 978-1-907401-69-5

 

Indigo Dreams Publishing

 

Publication 13 /02/ 2012

 

Poetry

 

DCF

 

138 x 216mm

 

70 pages

 

£7.99 U.K

 

 

 

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“Karen Dennison’s first collection, Counting Rain, is a quiet and moving series of poems, in which the most recurrent theme is the loss of childhood, and the way it lodges in the memory. ‘Here’ she writes, ‘are the rooms of our childhood,/ the walls where we wrote our names.’ This is a skilful, perfectly disarming series of pieces, in which disquiet and tension lie just beneath the surface, held there carefully while the writer investigates moments of loss, love, discovery – the whole collection is like a stealthy and imaginative search for the way the past and present impact upon one another. Its timing and its imagery are exceptionally exact: this is a life that we recognise, in which the writer uses her own experience to make us think about our own. It’s wonderful – a genuine journey, trodden and re-trodden, one that’s a privilege to share.”

 

Bill Greenwell

 

“Karen Dennison’s poems explore both the vastness of space and the intimacy of what passes between people in the cycle of birth, death, and what happens in between. She has a scientist’s concern for precision, but a poet’s ear for lyric. Her poems are direct and powerfully emotional in their desire to seek a pattern in chaos and to wake the ghosts of memory. An exciting debut.”

 

Tamar Yoseloff

 

“Dennison’s poems bristle with disquiet and transformation.  Her images leap off the page and look you right in the eye.”  

 

Helen Ivory

 

 

 

Leaving

 

I left the safety of your arms

for the vacuum of outer space.

 

I looked back to see you mouthing

like a fish. I couldn't read your lips.

 

My blood did not boil but

seethed beneath the skin.

 

My hands swelled, filling

the space left by yours.

 

I stared into the sun.

The last thing I remember, tears

were simmering in my eyes and your name

 

had boiled on my tongue.

 

 

 

 

Releasing You

 

I wind and wind, feel the pressure build.

The key-hole is empty, its key long lost.

Ivory paint is chipped off pale wood,

but the red rose is perfectly furled.

Opening the lid, your eyes are my eyes.

 

A ballerina in a skirt of dusty net

jerks to life; her clockwork pirouette

leads me to a dressing table, a sunlit bed,

stories of brooches, pearls, and rings.

I lift the velvet tray, watch the spool spin;

its spikes pluck the teeth of a silver comb

playing Für Elise in doll’s house notes.

 

Lowering the lid, I catch your scent,

breathe you in, and out again.

 

 

 

Moon Landing

 

Your belly is rounded, palimpsest of moon.

Feet-up, you wait, eyes scanning the flickering screen.

 

The grainy transmissions are like the silvered crater

of my skull, the muffled chambers of my heart.

 

Through egg-shell skin, I see

a hazy light, turn like a heliotrope.

 

As he takes his momentous step, you feel

me kick. We're almost weightless, he and I,

 

suspended between worlds. But I resist

the pull of earth, the first breathless glimpse,

 

begin one last slow-motion somersault,

not yet ready to breathe for myself.

 

 

 

 

Rehearsal

 

Home from lessons, she splinters

her mouth, presses a fork against

the tight membrane of her lips.

 

She curls up on her bed and shrinks

inside her shell, wrapping her face

with embryonic wings.

 

Fracture lines spread from her mouth

to her eyes. In her sleep

brittle tears scratch her cheeks.

 

Morning is a film of skin. The jigsaw

of her face lies on her pillow. She stretches

the pieces, seals a smile.

 

Today at school she'll rehearse her laugh.

 

 

 

 

Counting Rain

 

She kneels at the window.

Each splash is a dull surrender,

a colourless dawning.

 

She seeks a pattern

in the chaos of grey,

traces with her finger a languid cross.

 

She starts to count but her eyes

roll down the pane, following

the jagged prayer of a single drop.

 

As it reaches its unanswered end,

she lifts her face to a godless sky,

and begins from one again.

 

 

 

 

 

Guilt

 

She wrapped her guilt in silk, buried it

in hard earth. Each slicing of the spade

jarred her bones. She dragged a concrete slab,

piled up bricks on top. She scattered flowers

to hide the smell; no fox would dig up

her shame. She tended the plot every day,

speaking to herself. Finally, she stopped;

 

brushed off wilted roses, un-piled the bricks

and removed the stone, let weeds grow

from remorse. Years later she unearths

a lacework of roots, tattered scraps of silk

and bones of forgiveness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9781907401695 9781907401695