'Memory' by Elihu Vedder

“Every Place Is Also Another,” a Poem by Maureen N. McLane

From What You Want

May 15, 2023  By Maureen N. McLane

Clouds mount over the Midlands
—the clear day for walking
you wanted is gone. The power stations
the cooling towers the windmills the oaks
the suburbs—this is Brexit territory,
this Remain.
One sees almost everything
from the window of a train.

The Bronze Age stone circle, the Nine Ladies,
the king stone some yards off—
no one knows what anything means
though we pay good money
and a licensing fee to hear.
You sit and vape on one of the nine.
A committee’s poisoned the intrusive
volunteers. A light rain. You scorn
the rhododendrons, invasive.
The birches encircle the circle
and beyond, whortleberries hurtleberries
bilberries the low pointy-leaved bushes
unbearing berries till June
or is it July on a high plateau near Sheffield
opening onto the blueberried ridges
of Skatutakee Mountain New Hampshire.

Is this a general rain.
You talk of cricket as a foreign game.
The English, their summers,
their whites. These green fields,
these meadows, the yellow
shock of fields of rape,
the medieval contours
of strip farming
binding the land
into narrow bands
of shaded greens . . .
Quakers lie buried nearby
and their light.
Someone’s left
a ribbon tied to a low twig
by the graves: a May Day relic.
It is time to look
into the migration patterns
of the region’s birds to see
how changing conditions
affect the prospects for survival.


What You Want

Excerpted from WHAT YOU WANT by Maureen N. McLane. Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Copyright © 2023 by Maureen N. McLane. All rights reserved.

Maureen N. McLane
Maureen N. McLane
Maureen N. McLane is the author of six books of poetry as well as two books on British romantic poetics. Her My Poets (FSG, 2012)—an experimental hybrid of memoir and criticism—was named a New York Times Notable Book and a Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Autobiography. Her More Anon: Selected Poems is forthcoming from FSG in 2021.

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