GEOFF STEVENS MEMORIAL POETRY PRIZE 2018 IS NOW OPEN
Gill Lambert is a poet and teacher from Yorkshire. She has been published in The Interpreter’s House , by Indigo Dreams, Beautiful Dragons, Paper Swans Press and Half Moon Press; and on-line by The Fat Damsel, Clear Poetry, and Poetry Space.
She won the 2016 Ilkley Literature Festival Open mic competition and was commended in the Mother’s Milk Pamphlet Competition 2016.
Gill runs the “Shaken in Sheeptown” poetry night in Skipton and comperes at Word Club in Leeds.
138 x 216mm
£6.00 + P&P UK
PUB: SEPTEMBER 2017
The ‘Uninvited Guests’, within this pamphlet are those which present themselves as muses to the poet, unbidden: a sentence overheard, a programme on the television, the name of an ex. They are emotions, or the occasional ghost, real or imagined. They can be as welcome as the kiss of a lover or as unwanted as thoughts which cram into a wakeful head in the early hours.
‘Gill Lambert’s elegant yet comfortable, chatty tone is laden with hidden barbs, charting sudden jolts of feeling and whirlpools of memory within the common-place.’
‘In a voice at once confident and reflective, Lambert shows the intimacy of human encounters with the living and the departed, visiting a meticulously peopled past and present with compassion and humour.’ Hannah Stone
‘Gill Lambert’s poems are rich in the nuances and implications of life’s small details. Uninvited Guests quietly demonstrates the variety of things that make – and sometimes break – our lives.’
It began when they were young,
with skin firm as Pippins, flesh
creamy and yielding. She felt it first;
a longing turning to addiction,
the pull of womb on nipples,
prick of desire, sharp as cider.
She gave him her summers; golden days,
delicious afternoons melting into dusk.
He moved under her, dissolving
into her, his seeds scattering on her bed
with its apple wood frame and sheets
as thin as her marriage vows.
Because promises are difficult to keep
when there’s nothing else to do but be a wife.
At night she lay in a stifling embrace
and closed her body on serpentine fingers
that found their way in. She woke
to an apathy that lasted till the first bite.
But fermented love grows mould.
His worship of her soured, deceit
of the forbidden turned lust to mush,
with every fall. Her breasts, once ripe
and full, grew wizened like forgotten fruit,
her mouth bruised and purple.
Now she takes her drug in liquid form,
pressed apples tasting of the summers
spent cultivating devotion. Oozing
into her bed, her bloated body desires
nothing now but to drink, craving the high
it gives her, sick from the aftertaste.
That Kind of Snow
You had wanted snow,
though not the cruel cold of an Afghan winter,
that crept inside your sleeping bag
and froze the dampness in your socks.
There the snow fell suddenly
on a landscape that you’d come to know,
turning it back into an enemy.
No, not that kind of snow, but
snow that falls here on our hills
and sprinkles tops of walls,
the kind of snow that whispers in the night,
sighing over streets and fields, stays for days,
to disappear in pools of slush.
Your snow lay thick on corrugated iron,
and on flimsy make-shift walls,
where you shivered in the dark,
waiting for a dawn that showed the scars;
conflict; the thief that took whole men
and sent them back in halves, or quarters.
You had wanted soft, expected snow,
the snow that falls in lanes and covers gardens,
where footprints are the proof of destination.
I sat until the light went, reading
other people’s poetry and trying
to make some sense out of my own.
Eventually I raised my head
to pink clouds and a black stain
of nameless birds moving
over the spring sky, perhaps
coming home in answer
to a change in the air.
I’ve had an hour of near
silence, but now muffled squawks
of neighbours’ voices pushing
through walls remind me
of my own family’s needs.
For a while, nothing else matters
but who wants carrots?
and reuniting odd socks with their siblings.
Later I’ll look at the few words
I’ve written and rescue my fragile
eggs of thought, smothered
by fat cuckoos in a nest of meaning.
‘And though you want him to last forever,
you know he never will…’ Cat Stevens – Oh Very Young
The sand’s the same – biscuit darkening
to caramel, brown sugar, dissolving
into cappuccino foam. The café’s there,
from where you’d buy your endless
cups of tea, but the polystyrene cups
have gone. Now they’re selling
Fair Trade in recycled cardboard –
pasties from an artisan.
A thwack from someone’s tennis ball
against a cricket bat, like when
you slogged ours for a six. Then,
my heels kicked up the beach,
you stood and laughed, flares
flapping at your ankles; jeans
with patches spelt your love for them.
Dads are building sandcastles,
towels mark their boundaries,
windbreaks battering and crackling.
Surfer dudes with dreadlocks and tattoos
scan a turquoise sea that deepens
to the indigo horizon, then denim blue,
fading up to the sky.
The waves erase my footprints.
I’m leaving nothing behind,
it only makes the goodbye harder.