Bleak Row by Laura Potts

After the first, my star still north and rising,
they patched his purse of blood-burst skin,
my sleeping bud and starless. I remember him:
in all that dusk and darkness, my bygone boy
would never begin with spring-eternal grin
and years. In infant rain I brought him here.

Near to the starshook brooks, to the water’s call,
to the hill worn warm by the greening flocks
and the fox which chases night from the hills.
Remember, still, how I holy held and fell
like a last-prayer priest to my knees? These
in the sleeping snow, these in the damply death-

throe glow of Madonna’s weeping eye: these
are the lives in the seeds which cry to the gaping
mouth of night. Yes. These are all mine. I
and my yesterday’s children who never came by
and stamped their sparks on the pavement bright.
Theirs was the sleep when my eye-fire died,

when horizons never would rise in their stride
and my homehope lost in the land and gone.
Through gasping fog and winter on, I do not let
the sterile beds which hold their heads begin
to bow and hunchback-bend when village boys
and friends and all the wheeling, laughing ends

of summer spring that sleeping wall. Tonight,
cruciform, I lay another quiet life I never knew at all.

 


Laura Potts is twenty-one years old and lives in West Yorkshire. She has twice been named a Foyle Young Poet of the Year and in 2013 became a Lieder Poet at the University of Leeds. Her poems have appeared in Seamus Heaney’s Agenda and Poetry Salzburg Review. Recently, Laura has been shortlisted for a Charter-Oak Award for Best Historical Fiction in Colorado and received a Shadow Award. This year she was named one of The Poetry Business’ New Poets and became a BBC New Voice for 2017. Her first BBC radio drama Sweet The Mourning Dew will air in 2018.

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