Introducing Elka Cloke’s Bitter Language

Posted September 13, 2010 by 3 Comments

Now that everyone’s had a chance to digest the awesomeness of Cassandra’s Clare’s latest, Clockwork Angel, you might have noticed the poem that opens the book — “Thames River Song” by Elka Cloke. When putting together “Tessa’s Poetry List,” Cassie was kind enough to put me in touch with Elka, who in turn, was kind enough to provide Novel Novice with the complete text of the poem (there’s a bit missing in Clockwork Angel).

That complete poem, plus a collection of others, is available in Elka’s new book, Bitter Language, which hit book stores at the end of August. And get this — her poem “Bitter Language” also appeared in Clare’s City of Ashes.

This week we’ll be featuring Elka’s work and give you a chance to get to know her better. In the meantime, here’s the complete text of “Thames River Song.” Take note of the steampunk elements:

Thames River Song

The tides of the mind are slow
they flow through time
past monuments in limestone
and tall needles of glass.
Almost imperceptibly, a note of salt
slips in and the river rises,
darkening to the color of tea,
swelling to meet the green.
Above its banks the cogs and wheels
of monstrous machines
clank and spin, the ghost within
vanishes into its coils,
whispering mysteries.
We are at war.
Each tiny golden cog has teeth,
each great wheel moves
a pair of hands which take
the water from the river,
devour it, convert it into steam,
coerce the great machine to run
on the force of its dissolution.
They each believe that they can take apart
the ancient powers, rebuild the pillars of the world.
Gently, the tide is rising,
corrupting the mechanism.
Salt, rust and silt
slowing the gears.
Down at the banks
the iron tanks
sway into their moorings
with the hollow boom
of a gigantic bell,
of drum and cannon
which cry out in a tongue of thunder
and the river rolls under.
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3 responses to “Introducing Elka Cloke’s Bitter Language

  1. […] Novel Novice grazie all’aiuto di Cassandra Clare è riuscita a scovare per intero la poesia che introduce Clockwork Angel ( “Thames River Song” by Elka Cloke)e che noi vi preponiamo di seguito per intero: The tides of the mind are slow they flow through time past monuments in limestone and tall needles of glass. Almost imperceptibly, a note of salt slips in and the river rises, darkening to the color of tea, swelling to meet the green. Above its banks the cogs and wheels of monstrous machines clank and spin, the ghost within vanishes into its coils, whispering mysteries. We are at war. Each tiny golden cog has teeth, each great wheel moves a pair of hands which take the water from the river, devour it, convert it into steam, coerce the great machine to run on the force of its dissolution. They each believe that they can take apart the ancient powers, rebuild the pillars of the world. Gently, the tide is rising, corrupting the mechanism. Salt, rust and silt slowing the gears. Down at the banks the iron tanks sway into their moorings with the hollow boom of a gigantic bell, of drum and cannon which cry out in a tongue of thunder and the river rolls under. Un’altra poesia sempre della stessa scrittrice è presenta anche in City of Ashes, Bitter Language. Fonte: Novel Novice […]

  2. Carmel

    Elka really makes the reader feel like they are present observing the paddlesteamer churning it’s way down the river – you can sense the movement of the water under the majesty & the power of the “big lady” taking you back to the bygone era. Fabulous descriptive poetry – congrats Elka you compliment Cassie’s book so well:)

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