62 seconds of the extinct Thylacine or Tasmanian Tiger on film.
Within the box, it growls, it twists,
scowls through its repertoire of tricks,
ignores the camera — or gurns up close, turns
again, to flop, to gnaw that paw-trapped bone.
It paces out its trap of light; one hundred reps
while hindquarters zither bars of sun;
claws cage’s mesh, hangs stretched
as if to take the measure of itself.
You saw. You see. And what we’ve got is what was shot:
short clips, fragments caught and stitched
together in a loop of black and white.
Nine lives? Not quite. It’s down. It’s out.
It’s on its feet and born again. Like a repetition
compulsion, like… like reincarnated light.
Cliff Forshaw has been a writer-in-residence in Romania, Tasmania and California, twice been a Hawthornden Writing Fellow and won the Welsh Academi John Tripp Award. His most recent collection Vandemonian (Arc, 2013) pieces together a fragmentary history of Tasmania. Pilgrim Tongues will appear from Wrecking Ball in 2014. Cliff is also a painter and has exhibited his work in the UK and USA. He has made three short films accompanying collaborative anthologies focussing on East Yorkshire: Slipway (Wordquake commission 2013) Drift (Humber Mouth Literature Festival commission 2007) and Under Travelling Skies: Departures from Larkin, which won the first Larkin25 Words Award. Cliff lives in Hull where he teaches at the university.
Cliff’s website is: http://www.cliff-forshaw.co.uk/
For details of Vandemonian: http://www.arcpublications.co.uk/book.php?description_id=490
4 thoughts on “Featured Poet: Cliff Forshaw”
Thank you so much for introducing me to Cliff’s fabulous poems.
Impressive. Very moving.. I also watched/ listened to the reading on the You-Tube link which included actual footage of the last T.T.. The poem is a striking way to show us the fragility of species and individuals. Thank you.
Thanks for the nice comment. Enjoyed the poems on your website. Lots of good stuff there.
Yes, deer do “pronk”, don’t they?… What an arresting and odd verb.
This is really interesting poem for me.