Two Poems by Laura Potts



PHOTOGRAPHS


Their eyes I remember globes glass

in a camera, their past like an estuary light

in the dark. Sparks from the stars

are chiming here, chandeliers

from streetlamps in the park

mapping their own boulevard,

the night hours long and in love,

their life in their arms. Nightjars

on the lid of the pool, still bright:

the ghosts of a past

where there is always a light.


Away from then they are thirty years,

motherwit a candle in her eyes. Here

for the sleeper with his old wise light

the sun kicks spangles, coins bright

as the yesterday full in his smile.

The past, meanwhile,

a lukewarm light on their lips

at the edge of their sleep, something lit

by a childhood ballroom. I remember the moon,

a candlesworth of film hung on its spool,

when we sat in that park, the garden asleep,


the stars that fizzed in the deep hot dark

still holding their breath for you.





MERRIE CITY


Here in the home of smoke and smog, my hometown grey,

heirloom of mines, the steam and the fog, where evening plays

on the moorland spine to colliers’ paces

and the northern wind that weathered their faces


still gnarls in the teeth of the two a.m. frost;

here where tomorrow is always lost

in the death of the streetlamps hung in their hats,

their spluttering, fizzling, last-rite laughs


like the dark psalms stammered in the vestry’s dusk;

here where communion no longer tolls, where cathedral musk

is a godless ghost beneath ten dead bells,

and the cold throat belfry is an old-shack-shell


for the alleyway hobo in his passing breath,

and his cat which brims on the edge of death;

here where the fieldlamp’s first candled flame

is its last, and the quarry’s trace, a stain


over skin, casts the shadow of a grieving face,

(the memento mori of this town), this dead grey place

where the factory black is the cradle we sing to,

the sack where we sleep is the home that we cling to,


only here come here to the city’s dark heart,

only here come here to the tubes in its arms,

the industrial crack, these towers of ash,

where we think of the poverty coffins we’ll have.





Laura Potts is twenty-two years old and lives in West Yorkshire. Twice-recipient of the Foyle Young Poets Award, her work has been published by Acumen, Aesthetica and The Poetry Business. 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 BBC’s New Voices for 2017. Laura's first BBC radio drama aired at Christmas, and she received a commendation from The Poetry Society in 2018.

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