Having been without a computer for the last three weeks or so, it’s good to be back online and putting this post together. Firstly, a slight amendment to the Urban Forest poetry event in Endcliffe Park next Sunday (24th July). The start time is now 1.30 from the Hunters Bar entrance.
And now to more exciting matters. My featured poet for this post is Laura Potts, enviably young and gifted, with a talent for organising events as well as writing poetry. I’ve met Laura a number of times, through readings at Wakefield’s Red Shed and Risk a Verse, plus the Red Shed’s open poetry competition, so it’s a pleasure to be able to feature her work here. From the couple of poems below, you’ll see she really is a poet to watch out for.
Laura is a Yorkshire-based poet and is currently an English Literature student at the University of York. She has twice been named as a London Foyle Young Poet of the Year and Young Writer, and in 2014 became a Lieder Poet at the University of Leeds. She now collaborates with a composer from the Royal Welsh Conservatoire and in her spare time edits for York’s Looking Glass Anthology. Laura will begin to study abroad at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and work at the Dylan Thomas Museum, Wales, in the summer of 2016.
“A few poets and authors who have influenced me primarily: Carol Ann Duffy, Leonard Cohen, e.e. cummings, Sylvia Plath, Dylan Thomas, D.H. Lawrence, John Irving Clarke, Matthew Hedley Stoppard and Toni Morrison.” Laura Potts.
Here in the home of smoke and smog, my hometown grey,
heirloom of mines, the steam and the fog, where evening plays
on the moorland spine to colliers’ paces
and the northern wind that weathered their faces
still gnarls in the teeth of the two a.m. frost,
here where tomorrow is always lost
in the death of the streetlamps hung in their hats,
their spluttering, fizzling, last-rite laughs
like the dark psalms stammered in the vestry’s dusk,
here where communion no longer tolls, where cathedral musk
is a godless ghost beneath ten dead bells,
and the cold throat belfry is an old shack shell
for the alleyway hobo in his passing breath,
and his cat which brims on the edge of death,
here where the fieldlamp’s first candled flame
is its last, and the quarry’s trace, a stain
over skin, casts the shadow of a grieving face,
(the memento mori of this town), this dead grey place
where the factory black is the cradle we sing to,
the sack where we sleep is the home that we cling to,
only here come here to the city’s dark heart,
only here come here to the tubes in its arms,
the industrial crack, these towers of ash,
where we think of the poverty coffins we’ll have.
The evening of your days
on the other side of a hospice night.
A funeral in my face,
your ghostcandled fatherlight
still laughing, bright,
in the winter of your age.
The world in your ember days
lit up its lights in a biblical rain.
Long and far,
the crack of the night
in that dark throbbing room
showed your four-medal war arms,
your eyeballs stars.
The nightjars were still and did not stir you
when Death in his formal garden
took the bones of my father,
took the hissing skin
that brimmed with disease
in all the mists of that morning,
at the edge of his sleep
Your terminal cry I heard long.
After that, the morning hours ran on.
In a dawn darkly,
on a singing white page
at the rim of my memory,
the long wartime age
of your history
your lost laugh,
your long love,
all the days of your life –
and never your death at all.