Tuesday, 29 December 2015

2 poems by Richard Skinner

Black Water Side

Your mind is a house full of people running through rooms
looking for keys. Doors slam, but far away,
so softly you’re not even sure you heard it. Turn
the door knob and step into the freezing landscape.
Notice the weeping willow bending over the beck.
The black water now runs red.

Your life is here, made up of minutes, hours, naps,
errands, routine. The little things have to be enough.
The valley is reduced to the side of a fell and cloud coming in.
The sheep are cragfast, the deer keep falling down.
You’ve nowhere else to go and you’re sure of it now—
this is the wrong mountain.

Richard’s poems have appeared in numerous publications including Faber’s First Pressings and The Interpreter’s House and have been longlisted for the National Poetry Competition. His debut collection, the light user scheme, was published by Smokestack in 2013. His new pamphlet is Terrace (Smokestack, 2015). He is also the editor of two poetry anthologies: #1PoetryAnthology (Vanguard Editions, 2014) and The Ecchoing Green: Poems Inspired by William Blake (The Big Blake Project, 2015). He is Director of the Fiction Programme at Faber Academy. He also runs Vanguard Readings and its publishing arm Vanguard Editions.

Previously published poem (8/12/2013)


A man sweeps a field
armed with a metal detector,
the plate aching to find
the sternum bone or shield
of some Saxon lord and protector.

My radar reaches three feet
and searches for the band
dropped somewhere long ago
after losing all the heat
and the half-life of your hand.

The eyes of a submariner
lock on the ghostly green ring
as the sonar scans the immensity,
his finger presses on the monitor
and ricochets into the ocean, one long single ping. 

Richard Skinner has published three novels, all with Faber & Faber. His poetry collection, the light user scheme, is published by Smokestack.

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