Three poems by Linda Black


Can be done at any time, mathematically speaking. A child in the front row, she sees the Prince’s laddered tights. This opens up and widens her. In her grandparent’s house, at the end of a terrace, up a hill you get to through Gledhow Valley Woods, next to a parade where the green-grocer has straw on the floor, she sees an advert on the television for a delicious Bounty bar and the next minute her grandfather’s giving her the money and she’s dancing to the sweet shop across the dual carriageway.
On a cold night

Huddled by the hearth, staring at the cold grate: Ignite! she wills, Ignite! And now the flames are catching, racing, burning back; through the years and through the houses and it is more than she can bear to watch.
A small island

She who never learnt to swim: clams up, cuts away her tendrils – tender they are, all sloop and weep and dubious caress. Out of mind is out of sight. The lonely answer. Seeing is what isn’t, being flips and flounders. She knows what she hasn’t been up to now. Better, later, never…. wavering… Shall she tell? Wounds keeper, finders deeper… deep-ends. Take in the best spirit, beckon with a slight gesture, an inclined head. Return to the origin, recoup, recap. What treasures to be had . . . if only. She has a liking for salt-biscuits, something tangy on the tongue. Kept in, occasionally protruding. A coin between the teeth, two for the eyes with no sight.
(All poems previously published in Root, Shearsman 2011)
Linda Black received the 2004/5 Poetry School Scholarship and won the 2006 New Writing Ventures Award for Poetry. The beating of wings (Hearing Eye, 2006) was the PBS Pamphlet Choice for Spring 2007, when she also received an Arts Council Writer’s Award. Her collections are Inventory and Root, (Shearsman 2008 & 2011) and The Son of a Shoemaker (Hearing Eye 2012). The latter consists of collaged prose poems based on the early life of Hans Christian Andersen, plus the author’s pen and ink illustrations. It was the subject of a Poetry Society exhibition in April 2013. She is co-editor of Long Poem Magazine