Two poems by Niall Campbell

The Water-Carrier

I want to be the worst of this profession,
the one who makes it home half-empty, tipping
more air than water from the ringing pot,
and so late back the town’s already dark;

Oh no, they’ll say, that’s not the way of it,
and I’ll know their heaven’s brimful and undrunk,
their lips parched.
                  What do they know of the kiss
on the shoulder of that first spilt drop,

the tuneful drip, drip, drip on the stone path?
Midway home, midway from the source, my dream-sun
bleaching the sky, what could be better than
dry road ahead, my flooded road behind?
 
(previously published in Poetry London, 2014)
 
 
I Started

I started at the furthest point
telling the road it was a lie,
and on I went. I told the wall,
the kissing gate, the swinging sign,

then told the school it was a lie;
the woman and the men that passed
I told; each rock, and word, and door.
And I did not spare my own house.

And then it rained – and I told the rain,
and told the rain that I was cold.
 
 
Niall Campbell is a Scottish poet originally from the island of South Uist, one of the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. Moontide, his first collection, is published by Bloodaxe, and was named inaugural winner of the £20,000 Edwin Morgan Poetry Award (2014), and received the Saltire First Book of the Year (2014). Moontide was also shortlisted for both The Forward and The Aldeburgh Prizes for Best First Collection, and given a Poetry Book Society Recommendation.