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Featured Poet: Marianne Burton

Eyewear is pleased to feature, this National Poetry Day in Britain, the poet Marianne Burton.

Marianne Burton is a prize-winning British poet
Burton trained as a lawyer and worked in corporate finance in the City. She was awarded a year’s mentorship by Smiths Knoll and the resulting pamphlet, The Devil’s Cut, was a Poetry Book Society Choice.  Her poems have been published in places such as Agenda, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, CSM, New Contrast, New Plains Review, Poetry Daily, Poetry Ireland Review, Poetry London, Poetry Wales, Rialto, The North and The Times Literary Supplement. She has won prizes in the Bridport, Cardiff, Edwin Morgan, Mslexia, and TLS poetry competitions.  Her first full collection is forthcoming from Seren.  She lives in the Welland Valley and London.

 The Army Cook in Pevensey            

I am worn out dreaming of limbs
I lost at Thermopylae at Gallipoli
in Helmand Province
in Al-Zubayr near Basra;
limbs that were not mine but hurt
when they were ripped away.

I fed them all, carved melons for them,
baked little cakes in the cooling ashes
of that morning’s breakfast fire,
went out into the woods at night
to kill what lurked in the dark,
soundless, selfless, sleepless.

Now I lie alone listening
half-cock to the cry of sheep
in the blue-blur of winter.
Batteries de cuisine chime
in the play of marsh air.
Cutlery sleeps in its tarnish.

The castle here is crumbled,
the walls maggot-eaten
like Sardinian cheese.
Tourists worship a rind.
From the window I watch owls
rotate against each falling dawn,

I plan feasts for the dead –
nettle risotto, chestnut velouté
with powdered goose –
I hear laughter as I hand down plates,
Jacky, Sammy, Sebby,
Marty, Joseph, Jonathan.

What last night love fed, has fled,
leaving the feeder hungry.
Only the rhythm of my blood
still beats, as these hands ache
to cut and pummel flesh again,
to skin and draw.
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