Poetry from Beyond by Sarah Wardle (Bloodaxe Books - June 2014)
Be glad for the city’s spirit, the pulse
that moves the crowd forward, for lives that cross
and pass and meet again, for every face,
her smile, his frown, his singing on the train,
for synagogue and temple, Arab and African,
hospital, school, gallery, museum,
for bars and shops, bus stops, that ambulance,
for work and plans, and what comes by chance
in the hip hop chaos, the quantum dance,
for the knowledge, when we die, London goes on living
beyond rush hour, streetlights, sirens, clubs closing,
to birdsong, planes, road sweepers, the Tube moving
to the end of each line to return once more,
for the coming and going, for the key, the door.
First published in Poetry Review and will be in the forthcoming anthology Best British Poetry 2014 (Salt), ed. Mark Ford.
It is peace that strikes
even by the war memorial,
as if the umpire on the cricket green,
all dressed in white,
has saved the village
from the black-frocked vicar,
whose dirge at Christmas and Easter
heralds the euphoria
of exiting the church.
Here there are no police,
no ambulances, no fire engines,
no teeming streets.
You can see for miles into the distance,
fields and trees and hedgerows,
not another house in sight.
First published in The Times Literary Supplement.
(for Aidan Williams)
After a difficult week at work,
when I was trying too hard on a short fuse,
I suddenly knew that all the hurt
would have a certain way of being released,
Googled stables in the centre of town
and telephoned, but not to book a ride,
just to have five minutes with any one
of the ponies, and as he fed I cried
deeply from a well I thought was dry,
and while I hugged, breathed fully of his sweat,
heard him intently chomping on the hay,
told him I loved him and kissed his neck,
I knew calm like that with you this afternoon,
my head on your heartbeat, animal and true.
First published in The Spectator.