Kitty Coles and Kim Moore: The Language of Wolves


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Having now typeset all the poetry for the spring issue of The High Window we thought we would treat our readers to a preview of what is in the pipeline. So today we are featuring one of four poems by  Kitty Coles whose work was previously featured in THW#6 June 3, 2017.

We would also recommend that readers check out a  splendid set of six poems by Kitty in Tim Miller’s Underfoot Poetry. However, as is so often the case, one thing inevitably leads to another and Kitty’s poem, ‘The Wolf Within’, brought back to mind the title poem of Kim Moore‘s excellent pamphlet, If We Could Speak Like Wolves (Smith Doorstop. 2012). So we asked Kim if she’d like to send us a copy and join Kitty in a ‘twofer’.

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Kitty Coles: Poem

THE WOLF WITHIN

No use setting watchmen to strain
their eyes against the dark,
to watch the shadows, armed against his coming.
No use in these beacons burning,
all night, along the boundary
of the settlement.
No use in moulding silver into bullets,
in keeping lit lamps always
at the windows, in whispering
and keeping very still, in tying
rags to trees beside the water
to ward him off, in wearing charms
on wrists and at the throat,
in learning how to stop the heart
from beating, just long enough
to let the skin grow cold,
to mask the warmth that lets him find his prey.

He lives within already.
This is his dwelling.
My eyes grow heavy with the weight of his.
The pain in my bones
is because I carry his body
inside myself. My veins
are clogged with fur,
sprouting like flowers,
lush and dense and bloody.

Kitty Coles lives in Surrey and works as a senior adviser for a charity supporting disabled people. Her poems have been widely published. She is one of the two winners of the Indigo Dreams Pamphlet Prize 2016 and her debut pamphlet, Seal Wife, was published in August 2017

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Kim Moore: Poem

IF WE COULD SPEAK LIKE WOLVES

If I could wait for weeks for the slightest change
in you, then each day hurt you in a dozen
different ways, bite heart-shaped chunks
of flesh from your thighs to test if you flinch
or if you could be trusted to endure,

if I could rub my scent along your shins to make
you mine, if a mistake could be followed
by instant retribution and end with you
rolling over to expose the stubble and grace
of your throat, if it could be forgotten

the moment the wind changed, if my eyes
could sharpen to yellow, if we journeyed
each night for miles, taking it in turn
to lead, if we could know by smell
what we are born to, if before we met

we sent our lonely howls across the estuary
where in the fading light wader birds stiffen
and take to the air, then we could agree
a role for each of us, more complicated
than alpha, more simple than marriage.

Kim Moore’s first full-length collection The Art of Falling was published by Seren in 2015 and won the 2016 Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize.  Her poem ‘In That Year’ from the collection was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Published Poem.  She won a Northern Writers Award in 2014, an Eric Gregory Award in 2011 and the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize in 2010.  Her pamphlet If We Could Speak Like Wolves was a winner in the 2012 Poetry Business Pamphlet Competition, and went on to be shortlisted for a Michael Marks Award and named in The Independent as a Book of the Year.   After working for 13 years as a trumpet teacher, she is now a PhD student at Manchester Metropolitan University.

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