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Best of Irish Poetry 2009
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CLARE POLLARD

 

 

Clare Pollard

Clare Pollard was born in Bolton in 1978 and currently lives in East London.  She has published three collections with Bloodaxe: The Heavy-Petting Zoo (1998), Bedtime (2002) and Look, Clare! Look! (2005). Her first play The Weather (Faber, 2004) premièred at the Royal Court Theatre. She works as an editor, broadcaster and teacher.  Her recent documentary for radio, My Male Muse (2007), was a Radio 4 Pick of the Year, and she is a Royal Literary Fund Literary Fellow at Essex University. She is co-editor, with James Byrne, of the anthology Voice Recognition: 21 poets for the 21st century (Bloodaxe Books, 2009).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zennor

 

 

They crossed the partition

          first the mermaid at Nunton

                   who slithered from netted green;

nightmare silence where catfish skidded,

          whiskered,

                   over her chest,

                             her shucked eyes.

 

The cold of the sea is ferocious

          mottles skin and makes fingers thick red

                   and she wanted to feel the warmth of stones,

          but a boy cast a stone,

caved her skull.

 

Then the incident in Sheringham:

          it was drawn to the church’s spire.

                   The beadle yapped: ‘Mermaids

          can’t come in here!’

Slammed the oak door in her face.

 

But Zennor was different.

          Beneath dark grey sky,

                   smeared with lemon radiance,

          as sanderlings dared the edges of brown waves,

          a mermaid followed a man’s voice,

 

                   followed words he sang out:

                                     

                                      Salvation,    Risen,

                                                                   Love;

                             pulled herself out and across and into the town,

                   fathom by fathom,

          eelgrass and blood under nails

                   biting brine-stung lips with concentration.

 

                             Though her skin was the colour of seafoam,

                   and tiny crabs swung in her hair,

          Mathew Trewella did not care;

                   fell in love with this sea-creature –

                             each sandy inch –

 

                   and she’d die out of wet, but was where he belonged,

 

          so he crossed the divide,

 

                   waded into his fear, to the waist, to the wincing face,

                             until he could not feel it,

                                      and she clung to Mathew, arms round his neck,

                                                and kissed his head and throat.

                                     

                                                Beloved stranger, he entered a place

                                                of wild and alien light.

 

 

 

©2010 Clare Pollard

 

 

 

Author Links

 

Pollard at the Poetry Archive

Poems by Pollard on Poetry International Web

Clare Pollard Homepage

 

 

 

 

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