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Sue Hubbard, Vivienne Tregenza, Victoria Field and World Suicide Prevention Day

Books

Amongst “things found”
a vast plastic bag of books
as, if like that boy-king
with his painted peacock-eye
of kohl, you could fill
that metal tomb, that gas-filled car
with seeds of dormant knowledge
like grains of ancient barley that sprout
centuries after the plunder of grave-dark
to equip you for another better life.
Alchemies and knowledge
that had not served, had
failed you here. As if,
as if you could lay down
pearls, gobbets of wisdom
like dates or carved sardonynx,
blue lapis lazuli set in granulated
beads or gold, rare tinctures or
ointments of myrrh, to be absorbed
through your alabaster skin,
as the night enfolded you,
drew you home across
the dark-green, green-dark
Styx, to where such knowledge
may yeild meaning beyond
the hollow howl of words.

From Ghost Station (Salt Publishing)

Sue Hubbard is a freelance art critic, novelist, award-winning poet, lecturer and broadcaster. Twice winner of the London Writers’ competition and a Hawthornden Fellow, she was the Poetry Society’s first-ever Public Art Poet commissioned by the Arts Council and the BFI to create London’s biggest art poem that leads from Waterloo to the IMAX. Her books of poetry include Everything Begins with the Skin (Enitharmon 1994). A selection of poems in Oxford Poets 2000 (Carcanet). Ghost Station (Salt Publishing 2004), The Idea of Islands (Occasional Press 2010) and The Forgetting and Remembering of Air (Salt Publishing 2014).

Neither Your Mother’s Pleas

You were bright
as winter light on water,
quick as a deer, startled

under the quivering leaves of the forest
and running for your life
when they caught you.

You couldn’t stay
as you were –
ensnared and doped…

High above the dull earth
on the narrow walk-way
you caught sight

of something dazzling,
brighter even
than winter light on water

and leaping, left behind
this world of ours.
It was not enough to keep you.

Neither your mother’s pleas
nor the earth, sun and moon
in all their glory

were enough to keep you.

Vivienne Tregenza has been published in many magazines including Acumen, Ambit, The Frogmore Papers, Cinnamon Press and recent prizes in ARTEMISpoetry (commended by Jackie Kay), The Frogmore Prize and was a Cinnamon Debut Collection finalist. She has been published in various anthologies and her prize-winning poem published in Poetry on the Lake Journal One ed. by Gabriel Griffin. Vivienne is working towards a full collection.

 
 

Opening the Gate

In five years, we had just two, true conversations.
The first expansive, outside in sunshine, marriage

on both our minds – we were wedding guests
on a perfect May day, everyone joyful, dressed up,

bubbling with mild hysteria. You acknowledged
a wistfulness, too, for those of us not, or not yet,

(and, now, never can be) – happily spliced.
At least that’s what I read between your easy banter

and serious discussion of churches and religion – like me,
you seemed on the edge – half in half out

but yearning too, wanting to know more about
that one-way gate, the jewelled road tumbling towards

an amazing light and open arms. The second time
we talked one-to-one, was in winter, a cold, dead day

between Christmas and New Year. Kind friends
brightened the darkness with a party and games

but you, subdued, were not quite there –
told me it had been a dreadful year.

More and more, you said, you’d been in the cathedral
asking the questions it understands so well

but finding no answers. ‘A permanent solution
to a temporary problem,’ someone said, afterwards,

not seeing the solution’s already a given –
the dilemma’s not why, but how, what and when –

the why-nots of love, work and friends, irrelevant –
they’ll all soon be gone, in any case. Not a moment of madness –

you choreographed a small theatre of action – and then?
Was it a drop through cool dark to a nothingness of total peace?

Or did you spiral skyward past blossom and birds
to the embrace of a bride, and the blue of her miraculous eyes?

Victoria Field is a writer and poetry therapist based in Canterbury, Kent.

samaritans

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Pippa Little

Pippa Little Featured Poet

Pippa

Altweibersommer
(Old Wives’ Summer)

In Altweibersommer
we gather the first misty skeins
dip them in piss-starch, dwindle and spin them into wires
that twitch with all the conversations of the world.
We may choose to drown them in a milky ditch
or whisper them home:
we have no appetite for love but dawdle where young men
rise out of clear pools, shaking drops free in golden,
needle-fine constellations – we sew them old, heart-stuffed bodies,
and when we drape the bright mesh over, each hero shivers.

In Altweibersommer
we grow weary of figs and pomegranates,
sip one another from long spoons, sigh for that honeycomb
to glisten slickly on the tongue, gulp/
gulp till the forschung puppy-fat is gone:
we hang shoes from elms,
snip babies’ hair and set one curl in forfeit on the pillow,
knit their moth-breath into storms, throw ourselves down hills
in snarls of birds-nest, crying
prayers for cannon-food, tumbleweed, the eye-bones of sluttish husbands.

From the hairs on our chin we weave soft, slow, snowdrifts
that numb the flail and weathervane
in spiderly baptismal shawls or shrouds
through which dirty light frays, in, out,
in, out, like lungs, breathing.

 
 
 

Pippa Little was born in East Africa, raised in Scotland and now lives in Northumberland. Her first collection, The Spar Box, (Vane Women), was a PBS Pamphlet Choice. Foray from Biscuit Press and The Snow Globe, from Red Squirrel, preceded her first full collection Overwintering (Carcanet) in 2012, which was shortlisted for The Seamus Heaney Centre Prize. She is a Hawthornden Fellow and takes up a Royal Literary Fund Fellowship at Newcastle University this year. Her work is widely published in online and print journals and in anthologies.

Martyn Crucefix

Featured Poet: Martyn Crucefix

Martyn

.

The lovely disciplines

See Ginny’s son and Ginny’s daughter-in-law
rest useless hands on the raised bed-rail

stare down to where Ginny writhes and squirms
her slender left arm reaching O so high

while her bare right calf lies crooked across
the cold retaining bar as lucky Jane all day

scuts with her bird-like legs folded under
to clear the turning wheels of her chair

while she roams the ward her working shoulders
pump each shove as if she’d tear herself clear

of the purple seat while Michaela’s throat
goes sucking great holes in the hospital air

and rubs itself raw till she’s like a bull-seal
honking on a distant shore she may have once

defended open-eyed though no-one here
believes Michaela will stir—no brighter hope

any more for Linda where she settles quiet
in her purple dressing-gown beside her bed

neat as a serviette her eyes fixed on a man
from her V of hands while he stares at her

from his V of hands the woman who he moved
for years coterminous with who now prefers

distance and darkness and being dumb . . .
O no more those lovely disciplines

we reassure ourselves it’s human to pursue
and no more those sweet acts of will

we treasure briefly or we take for granted
consoling ourselves that we will be spared

the horror of long blue rooms like these—
the slack and supine and all the twaddle

of decay and we persuade ourselves
that the truth need not be so bleak

as it seems for these who hold the floor today
who turn barely more than one leaf turns

in being blown to the gutter who seem
as nothing to themselves if more to others

who come with names they cannot let go
murmuring Ginny Michaela darling Linda Jane

.

———————————————————————————————————————————————

Martyn Crucefix has won numerous prizes including a major Eric Gregory award and a Hawthornden Fellowship. He has published 5 collections, including An English Nazareth (Enitharmon, 2004) and Hurt (Enitharmon, 2010). His translation of Rilke’s Duino Elegies was shortlisted for the 2007 Popescu Prize for European Poetry Translation and hailed as “unlikely to be bettered for very many years” (Magma). His translation of Rilke’s Sonnets to Orpheus was published in 2012. Information can be found at Poetrypf also see Enitharmon.

Cliff Forshaw

Featured Poet: Cliff Forshaw

Clifflion1

.

Loop

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