Selected by Dan Clendenin
U.A. Fanthorpe (born 1929)
This was the moment when Before
Turned into After, and the future’s
Uninvented timekeepers presented arms.
This was the moment when nothing
Happened. Only dull peace
Sprawled boringly over the earth.
This was the moment when even energetic Romans
Could find nothing better to do
Than counting heads in remote provinces.
And this was the moment
When a few farm workers and three
Members of an obscure Persian sect
Walked haphazard by starlight straight
Into the kingdom of heaven.
Ursula Askham Fanthorpe (1929–2009) graduated from Oxford University, after which she taught at Cheltenham Ladies’ College for sixteen years. She later worked as a clerk and receptionist at a psychiatric hospital. In 1994, she was the first woman to be nominated to the post of Professor of Poetry at Oxford. Fanthorpe published some twenty books of poetry, and was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
Dan Clendenin: firstname.lastname@example.org
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