Love? If you’d asked me yesterday, I’d say
love is a saw that amputates the heart.
I’d call it my disease, I’d call it plague.
But yesterday, I hadn’t heard from you.
So call it the weight of light that holds one soul
connected to another. Or a tear
that falls in all gratitude, becoming sea.
Call it the only word that comforts me.
The sight of your writing has me on the floor,
the curve of each letter looped about my heart.
And in this ink, the tenor of your voice.
And in this ink the movement of your hand.
The Alps, now, cut their teeth upon the sky,
and pressing on to set these granite jaws
between us, not a mile will do me harm.
Your letter, in my coat, will keep me warm.
(extract from The Marlowe Papers)
Ros Barber was born in Washington D.C. and raised in Colchester, Essex, before going to study Biology at the University of Sussex in order to move to Brighton, where she happily remains. Anvil have published two poetry collections, the latter (Material, 2008) a Poetry Book Society Recommendation; the title poem was selected for Faber’s Poems of the Decade (2011).
Her critically acclaimed verse novel The Marlowe Papers (2012), a fictional re-imagining of the life of 16th Century playwright Christopher Marlowe, has been called ‘the best read, so far, this year’ (Sunday Express), ‘elegant and charmingly playful’ (Sunday Telegraph), ‘a thrilling alternate version of Marlowe’s life’ (Observer) and ‘as excitingly plotted as any holiday thriller… The Marlowe Papers thunders along like an episode of some Elizabethan 24’ (Literary Review). The Marlowe Papers is published by Sceptre in the UK; the US edition will be published by St Martin’s Press January 2013.