The Result Is What You See Today (Smith|Doorstop, 2019)
Includes my poem ‘The Ultra Runner’ and is available to pre-order now.
Curated by poet-runners Ben Wilkinson, Kim Moore and Paul Deaton, The Result is What You See Today threads running and poetry through myriad routes, venturing into the how, why and where of a timeless human act.
Spring and the Pig Mother
You may catch sight of her
early in the year, when the moon
is a bright slit
no thicker than a new-born’s tail.
She will be standing with arms lifted,
pale and still as a ghost gum against the sky.
For a bare hour
she wraps the night around her
and conducts it like a sea.
A curl of her hand starts currents
that draw the breaths
out of all the creatures on the farm
and sends them back, charged and fertile.
The crops in the fields fatten,
even the worms
and crawling insects feel
a new sharpness and scurry
more boldly about their business.
When it’s done, she stoops and shuffles
back into the heavy skin.
she invites them all to come to her.
In the dark she takes
their hundred sucking mouths.
This poem was Highly Commended in the 2017 Bristol Poetry Prize.
Comment from judge Liz Berry: Oh I loved this wild, strange folkloric poem and wished I had written it, especially those wonderful final lines.
Two poems published on Ink, Sweat and Tears
Towers of Orkney
Face away from the
cliffs, and you can imagine
no one has stood here
for many thousands of years.
One hundred miles east, past
the broken sandy
shore, past the whirlpools of the
spring tides that frenzy
and fade again as quickly
as a lovers’ quarrel, is
Squat and oily, it has a
different beauty to
this grand column of seamed and
layered slates. The men who built
the burial mounds,
who gathered oysters and kelp
on the beach and spent
dark winters in low houses,
knew no steel. What would they make
of that gleaming stark
wickerwork rising from the
swell? Of the multi-
jointed robot machines that
creep over its surfaces?
This poem was first published in Under The Radar Issue 21, summer 2018.