Sharon Black

Sharon Black: Featured Poet


(after Iona)

It’s how I pictured you
– marram-blond, naked of trees,
your fingers steeped in sand,

lying on a sea-blue blanket, swaddled
in soft grey clouds and sky,
joined to me by bedrock.

You were always going to be the gentle one.
Above the abbey, white pigeons
write your name in cursive script;

waves flutter high upon the beach,
all thoughts of blue suddenly interrupted;
luminous green pebbles shed themselves in the bay.

You came to me too late – me, the mainland,
already with whole civilisations to support,
my head was full of earth and clouds.

At the hospital they said your stone
had been warming for five weeks.
I swallowed pills; you washed away.

Today I leave you again, on the ferryboat to Mull –
in its wake, an umbilical cord of froth
connecting the islands –

and when I turn at Fionnphort you are
small enough to fit in my hand
as if you had simply floated to the surface,

as if you were simply sleeping on the horizon
of someone else’s palm.


Sharon Black is originally from Glasgow but now lives in the Cévennes mountains of southern France with her husband and their two young children. In her past life she was a journalist and taught English in France and Japan. In her current one she runs a small retreat and organizes creative writing holidays ( Her poetry has been published widely in journals such as Agenda, Aesthetica, Envoi, Iota, Mslexia, Orbis, The Frogmore Papers and The Interpreter’s House. She won The Frogmore Prize 2011, The New Writer Competition 2010 for Best Poetry Collection and Envoi International Poetry Prize 2009. Her first collection, To Know Bedrock, is published by Pindrop Press.

6 thoughts on “Sharon Black: Featured Poet”

  1. Every time I read this poem I see something new – it’s amazing imagery is its strength. It’s a very moving, fabulous poem Sharon and great to see it here.

  2. Thank-you Valerie. Weirdly, I am actually on the island of Iona as this appears this week – serendipitous, no?

  3. Hello Sharon. Yes, I agree with Valerie. The poem has great strength with the way you combine the imagery of the landscape and the personal. Good to read it again.

  4. A very beautiful and moving poem which lures me in to read again and to understand more. Some poems have the power to make you want to reach for your own pen – this is one of them. Thank you.

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