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Milena Poems

Authors: Desmond Graham

Published by Flambard Press

ISBN: 9781873226674

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These poems for and about the poet's daughter Milena take us from the first sightings of an Ultrasound Scan - vertebrae like sweetcorn/toes a spark of light - into the deft and learned ways of the infant: She is learning her hands/like a flute player/with the little finger perched/on an inch of thin ait/above the last stop. The crawling baby who looks up at the Cologne Cathedral of your knees becomes the toddler we travel and make discoveries with, who leads you into her story from kitchen to lounge/few words are needed, up the stairs/peer through the window/stagger your way back down.

This, Desmond Graham's fifth collection, brings together poems written over twelve years which bear witness to a child's growth: a thank you, certainly but also, as he explains in the Author's Note, a work of "respect and admiration". Synchronised with the growth is an increasing awareness of the transitory place he has within it. Will I go with all your stories/into your childhood,left behind,/with the lost child you played/and I rescued? The learning is two-way as the child teaches its reach of imagination, its playing out of care and companionship, and the poet learns how to let go, to be overtaken.

Desmond Graham lives in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, where he is Professor of Poetry at the University of Newcastle. In addition to his collections of poetry he has written a biography of Keith Douglas, a critical study of the poets of the First World War, The Truth of War, co-translated the work of the Polish poet Anna Kamienska, Two Darknesses, and edited Poetry of the Second World War: An International Anthology. His collection After Shakespeare has been translated into Polish in 2002 and the Milena poems have been the subject of a jazz suite, first performed in Arnhem in 2003.
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