INDIGO DREAMS PUBLISHING LTD
WILD NATURE POETRY AWARD competition now open.
138 x 216mm
£6.00 + P&P UK
Shake us and we settle,
cling to roads and railways,
clotting at a crossroads
where a town begins to grow, swell, spill
into the suburbs with its two-up two-down shells.
Take down the curtains, the picture frames,
the slatted blinds and mirrored doors,
wrap the plates from the dresser
and the china cats. Switch off
radios, TVs and phones, wind
the cables to walls — unplug.
Clear the mantle, heave back the rugs,
pick the boards to splinters,
strip the paper with nails.
Dismantle, heap, scrub, abrade,
scour to bare-brick bones. Step outside
to untaffle the fences, the hedgerows, the walls,
let the lanes go to pot-holes and the roads
crack above tree roots. Twist the tower-block
teeth from an aching jaw. Coil up
the motorways and unzip the railways
in rich brown streaks,
reel in the wires, lever up pipes,
pick out the pylons. Tie off canals
with practised knots, turn reservoirs loose.
Ask the bank-bound river to relearn
her meanders, enjoy her floodplains,
sprawl into lakes. Let the streams decide
their routes from the hills,
the ditches unhurry through the scrub.
Trust the water to find its way.
The land will forget the paths,
overgrow our snickets and gunnels
alleys and tracks, shrivel
into twists of umbilical cord.
Uncollect, degather, rescatter.
It knows as well as we, that humans, like sediment,
are time in falling, and before long, resettle.
This year they leave together
before the first real frost sets in, the mist
a not quite kiss above the sleeping lake,
soundless until a goose barks out
like a chair scraped back in the dusk.
Which goes first we couldn’t say;
the whim of one, or some collective knowing
sets those great primeval feet pedalling the water
breasts heaved up, wings thrashing,
and just when it seems too improbable –
their weight too great, their necks too long –
the first bird tips and begins to lift.
Through the mist and mire they rise
unsullied and unforgettably white,
parting, then dissolving into night.
All That Jazz
A sieve of pause and pattern
here and there a note
but not the one you wanted,
not the cadence that might settle this
once and for all.
Don’t all those lazy-lidded locals
propping up the bar each night
want something more secure?
Not a house and kids with a well-paid job
but a chord that says I knew all along
and you’ve earnt this cadence –
get yourself a drink, knock it back in one
as the next band pans for gold.
JOINT WINNER OF THE INDIGO-FIRST PAMPHLET PRIZE 2020
Exploring themes of home and connection, many of these poems are snapshot images – touching, sometimes humorous depictions of domestic life observed from windows or heard through a shared bathroom wall. Others look beyond this, directing our line of sight far out across the rooftops ‘until the town edge tatters’ and the natural world continues regardless, to ‘restitch’.
After studying English literature at Cambridge, Lauren returned to Nottingham for a Creative Writing MA at the University of Nottingham where she remains a literary research student, and in recent months also a part time care assistant.
Lauren’s work has previously appeared in numerous journals including New Walk, Acumen, The Rialto and Stand; she has won numerous prizes and was most recently mentored after winning the UNESCO-funded Writing the Contemporary prize and subsequent publication.
This debut pamphlet reveals a fascination with what ‘home’ means. Many of her poems are snapshot images – touching, sometimes humorous depictions of domestic life observed from windows or heard through a shared bathroom wall. Others reveal her dual love of the natural world that ‘stitches’ our lives together.
Along with reading, study and speculating on neighbours, she will always love the satisfaction of ‘pegging out’. With an ethos of ‘if life gives you lemons, make lemonade’, the past year has provided ample material in working towards a full collection.
I watch them in the mornings
through the gap-toothed fence,
passing the basket back and forth
like a cone of plastic chips:
socks toe first in pairs,
two-a-piece for pants
before stepping back
to halve and halve a double sheet
in a dance as old as custom,
old as the lines with which we speak
that lope out far beyond sight
until the town edge tatters
to a scattering of cottages,
pylons dwindle, fields unravel,
and we fall quiet.