To Celebrate ‘Light’ for National Poetry Day: Bethany W Pope, Roddy Williams, Jean Atkin

 

 

Midnight Illness

 

Home is only ever found in glimpses,
the night-fragrance of a lover’s shoulder,
the warm throb of the pulse beneath the skin
of the throat, the green scent of trees captured
in the pages of the right kind of book.
You feel ‘home’ in a burst of pleasant light
that flares in the tissue hidden behind
the string-like nerves of your eyes. It remains
unnamed until the golden warmth consumes
a cavity. Melancholy swarms in
and then you learn that, yes, you really had
something beautiful — for a little while.

 

Bethany W Pope has published several collections of poetry: A Radiance (Cultured Llama, 2012) Crown of Thorns, (Oneiros Books, 2013), The Gospel of Flies (Writing Knights Press 2014), and Undisturbed Circles (Lapwing, 2014). Her first novel, Masque, shall be published by Seren in 2016.

 

 

 

Light

 

light has been sinking into me since nineteen fifty nine

my shadow points at where it should have been

and tells me most of it is reflected,

random photons streaming away

but some, some gets inside.

 

it pours in through the eyes

and my hair, at least the dark bits,

and the blue-black grating

of my tattoo

or into the dark scab

where i cut my finger

exchanging blood for brightness.

 

i think of starlight

it’s travelled all that way

from before we even evolved

into things that know what stars are

or that their light sinks into us,

fills us with bright wonder.

 

 

Originally from North Wales, Roddy Williams lives and works in London. His poetry has recently appeared in ‘Popshot; ‘The North’, ‘Magma’, ‘The Frogmore Papers’, ‘Obsessed With Pipework’ and other magazines. He is a keen surrealist photographer and painter.

 

 

Shackleton

 

From deck, ice binds the span of what he sees
and moonlight etches out volcanoes

distant but distinct.  Without the wind, a spell is cast.

Dark against the shining plain each shadow
of each peak and rock leaps up.

He sees Erebus raised to outer space

and hears the first dog’s howl into the roof of south,
the note’s decay and then the new plaint

relayed through the pack.  And then,

no more.  He listens for the freezing
of his exhaled breath instead.

And the dry air rustles with his lungs’ faint leaves.

Afar, a line of mountains, south, and south of thought.
Let me taste the whole of it, he said.

 

 

 

Jean Atkin is a poet, writer and experienced educator, based in Shropshire. Her collection Not Lost Since Last Time is published by Oversteps Books and she has also published five poetry pamphlets and a children’s novel. She has held residencies in libraries, museums, festivals and even a beach and she works as a poet and writer on projects in both Scotland and England. She is Poet in Residence for Wenlock Poetry Festival 2015-16.    www.jeanatkin.com

Note: Shackleton used to recite from Browning while on watch on the ‘Discovery’ on Captain Scott’s expedition to Antarctica. ‘Let me taste the whole of it’ from Prospice by Robert Browning. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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