‘On the Fence’ by Sharon Black

On the Fence

The view’s not bad. Between the patchwork
of prejudice and the roll of logic, on a clear day

you can see right across to the Cairngorms, rising
like indignation in the distance.

No need for reason this high up. The grass
is green whichever way you look.

Sometimes I amuse myself with a test
of balance: all the way to the sycamore without falling off.

It’s a question of faith: not in staying upright
but faith in my feet –

the fact of them, not how far they might take me
or how many blisters I’ll have to lance

when I pad home tonight. It’s faith
in timber, nails, the sweat of a good man,

in the mortise and tenon of each vertical post.
Forgive me, I haven’t even introduced you –

these are my neighbours: Swaledales,
Longwools, Cheviots. Over there

with his black-and-white sheepdog is Farmer Fisk,
waving his staff like a last word.


(Highly commended in the Larkin and East Riding Poetry Competition 2012; appeared in The Art of Egg, Two Ravens Press 2015)
Sharon Black is originally from Glasgow but now lives in the Cévennes mountains of southern France where she runs a yoga and writing retreat. She has been published widely and won the Prole Laureate Competition 2016 as well as Ilkley Literature Festival Poetry Competition 2013. Her first collection, To Know Bedrock, was published by Pindrop Press in 2011. Her second, The Art of Egg, appeared with Two Ravens Press in 2015. She recently took over as publisher at Pindrop Press.