Laura Potts: ‘beneath the stars and still’

Laura Potts is twenty-two years old and lives in West Yorkshire. Twice-recipient of the Foyle Young Poets Award, her work has appeared in Agenda, Prole and Poetry Salzburg Review. Having worked at The Dylan Thomas Birthplace in Swansea, Laura was last year listed in The Oxford Brookes International Poetry Prize and nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She also became one of The Poetry Business’ New Poets and a BBC New Voice for 2017. Laura’s first BBC radio drama aired at Christmas, and she received a commendation from The Poetry Society in 2018.

Laura Potts: Two Poems

LOVE IN THE TIME OF COLD

Before the dawn that walks the northern morning from the moors;
before the swans sing winter on and cough the fog upon the ponds,
we ask that through the Christmas mist and bells that bring December in
you pause and long-remember this: ever through the blizzard lives

the hospice on the hill, sleeping in the heart of dark beneath the stars
and still. How that leaping garden laughs; how that wind will never gasp away
the ashes of our past that live until the last; how those staff with candle-eyes
will guard our sleepers through the night. And as the nurses lull the light

the sentry sets above and bright-as-life upon the skies: ever does that crust
of moon push a light into those rooms, and pull away the dusk and gloom.
Oh how soon the seasons turn, and how the folk will come and go and once
will leave to not return, and how that tree will never know defeat against

the snow. Know only that the flowers grow and show their Sunday best,
and bow towards that sleeping house, and death is that much less.

BLEAK ROW

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 that 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.

*****

 

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