Moya Cannon

Keats Lives

ISBN: 978 1 784100 60 5
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: September 2015
216 x 135 x 5 mm
72 pages
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: eBook (EPUB), eBook (Kindle)

Two Ivory Swans


fly across a display case
as they flew across Siberian tundra
twenty thousand years ago,
heralding thaw on an inland sea —
their wings, their necks, stretched,
vulnerable, magnificent.

Their whooping set off a harmonic
in someone who looked up,
registered the image
of the journeying birds
and, with a hunter-gatherer’s hand,
carved tiny white likenesses
from the tip of the tusk
of the great land-mammal,
wore them for a while,
traded or gifted them
before they were dropped
down time’s echoing chute,
to emerge, strong-winged,
to fly across our time.

“The truths are hard won and yet on the page the modus operandi looks so disarmingly simple. This is Cannon’s great achievement. The poems can be read by a child or a sage. A Cannon poem is inimitable — it says, “This is the world, this is home, all we need or will ever need is here.’’”

Paula Meehan


“‘Keats Lives’, declares the title of Moya Cannon’s new book. Our present moment, her poems seem to argue, is fleeting by comparison with, say, lines by Keats, or a fragment of pottery, or a cave drawing. Cannon’s calm authority offers proof after proof of the responsibilities attendant on an art that knows Ars longa, vita brevis.”

John McAuliffe The Irish Times


“In Moya Cannon’s timely, luminous new collection of poems, the grief that can suffuse this world of loss can also blossom into gratitude for what endures, and for what unexpectedly returns after hope seemed lost. A reader is invited (as at the conclusion of Primavera to ‘Kneel down/ open your eyes/ and allow spring to come in.’”

John Elder