Thursday, 6 October 2016

A Poem For National Poetry Day 2016

It's National Poetry Day today and the theme is Messages.  To mark this, I'm posting a poem from my latest collection, Breadcrumbs

Dead Poet at the Swimming Pool describes what is probably the most powerful dream I've ever had, back in 1999. I interpreted it as a message to my waking self that if I continued to ignore my creativity - specifically, if I didn't write - something vital inside me, which was already close to death, would perish altogether.

So I started to write - poems and a novel.  Not that this stopped my subconscious pumping out admonition after admonition; in fact, I continued to be inundated with stressful dreams about imminent exams for which I had done no revision/attended no lessons or lectures/had no idea of the syllabus until my first collection, Communion, was published in 2011.  But I will always be grateful for this message, which I heeded despite being incredibly busy at the time with four young children, two of them autistic, a part-time job, and a troubled marriage.  Ultimately, it changed the course of my life. 






Dead Poet at the Swimming Pool

  
Outside rain clatters through gutters
pays thick ropes through gratings, drains

and still he’s here, hunched on the steps, his head
hanging in his hands. No one takes any notice

Not the receptionist in her office       
pool staff swabbing dingy floors, slick-haired men

fraught mothers trailing dripping kids with neon wings
all too preoccupied

to clear his eyes of silt and withered leaves
his dirt-stopped mouth

It’s early autumn when she kneels beside him
drops a coin to gauge the depth      

ten more years before she hears it
hit the bottom



©Deborah Harvey 2015

'Dead Poet at the Swimming Pool' was shortlisted for the 2015 Bridport Prize

Artwork by Dru Marland


No comments:

Post a Comment