Three poems by Kathryn Gray


If I could tell now just how that grass felt –
itchy, summer wet – as we rolled the incline,
raced each other down, bad-landed in a heap;

if I could pull from my pocket the chalk dust
from shattered Parma Violets and blow this
from my palm like so, then I’d be getting

some proximity toward his hand spanned up
my skirt and that particular instant, loosed
and everywhere as pollen, when my eyes filled.
(from The Never-Never, Seren, 2004)
The Winter After

This moment is no elegy, but simple fields
held by snows that came late last night.
It is pure light, with weight. And even though
we know its end, those trees beyond

seem, for now, so fixed in their scheme
that they are strangely unhurtable.
They will not buckle. What do they call it?
The beginnings of whatever comes after?

This morning, I am the only thing to move
for miles, a drag and sump of up and over;
my boots fit snug in this new earth.
And what I do for you is this, I kneel to skim

my hand across its level and make a fist
of it. Man gwyn. It is the white place.
(from New Welsh Review, Spring 2001)
These Things I Carry

Imagine this suitcase I carry bearing hard west;
inside it, all these things I’ve left:

the village tongue, a tic, the local shrug
or the must of the rolled-up rug

stitched with the light as it fell in a hall,
and a kicked-over bucket, fresh from a well,

that makes of the grass a network of rivers,
crossing which I learned the balance of these

things I carry with me, each unmourned,
unable either to keep or return.
(from The Never-Never, Seren, 2004)
Kathryn Gray‘s The Never-Never (Seren, 2004) was shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize and the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. She is currently a Leverhulme researcher on the Devolved Voices project, investigating Welsh poetry in English since 1997, and is working on her next collection.