All poems on this page remain the intellectual property of Lucy Crispin and are subject to the usual laws of copyright.
the opposite of lonely
this poem is the first in the sequence wish you were here (Hedgehog Press, 2020). To get a copy directly from me, click here (you’re staying safely within the site).
But can we have some more sex first? you’d asked,
reaching for me as I stepped from the bed,
passed through that shaft of busie sun
and me looking back over my shoulder,
laughing: sure of something for the first time,
knowing at last
that I stretched from earth to sky—
was a rooted thing, like a mountain maybe,
and a spreading thing, like a green tree with ripe fruit;
so that when, later, you had gone
and I, undressing for sleep,
was stopped by smelling you on my skin—
not sex, but you—
the convulsion of longing
was total, sufficient in itself,
because true; and my own pale shoulder
beautiful, and beloved of me,
because your head had rested there.
a recurring drama in one act
This took 3rd in the Bedford International Writing Competition (2020) and is part of the title sequence in the collection hungers, which is in progress at the moment.
Lights up (fixed spot) on the figure of a woman
(she could be any age between 16 and 50)
in profile, standing in front of a cupboard.
In the background, a sink; a bin
can be half seen, to one side. Arms splayed,
the woman holds the cupboard doors
open wide, a hand gripping each doorknob.
She is both furtive and focused.
She scans. Quietly and carefully at first,
but with growing abandon, she pulls
boxes and packets from the cupboard,
removes lids, rips off cellophane,
tears cardboard. With increasing feverishness
she eats, shoving biscuits, crackers, crisps,
cakes into her mouth, which is opened wide
to accommodate the fistfuls of food.
She barely chews, swallows with difficulty,
stokes her mouth again. It is
savage. Packaging mounds at her feet.
Eventually, abruptly, she stops. She is panting.
She leans back (she has been leaning forward)
and wipes her mouth. Her shoulders drop.
Now careful again, she re-packs
some token items: slots them into plastic trays,
slides trays into boxes, sheaths them
in torn cellophane. With evident discomfort
she bends, gathers debris, then walks to the bin.
She can be heard lifting its lid, scuffling
in it, replacing the lid. She walks back
into the spot, washes her hands, gently
closes the cupboard doors. There. All tidy.
She turns and looks at the audience.
There is utter desolation in her eyes.
Lights down. Exit.
runner-up in Ver Poets (2019) and first published in Ver Poets Anthology
Not 200 yards up the bridleway from where
the rabbit kit lies 4-by-4-ed on the tarmac,
its cream-fringed honey-brown coney
slashed with the pale pink sheen of gut—
clean still, not yet found by birds or flies;
in the muddy field corner, beyond
the white-flocked blackthorn, the glistening
red pennant of afterbirth still trails
behind the ewe whose head dips
to lick at her trembling, baggy-skinned young.
World-shocked, new to light and gravity,
shakily they lever themselves upright—
stand bemused, lift apprentice limbs, and crumple
onto mud, their untried bleats so faint
they scarcely trouble air. Nudged, nuzzled,
they blunder along her flanks, bunting her legs,
her rump, to find the waiting teats at last.
They butt. Comfort comes down, and quiet.
The ewe’s head lifts; she stares, and is still.
Startled by a walker’s footsteps, the pheasant
on the wall flounces magnificently off; crows
lift reluctantly from the tree—slow, deliberate,
like old men rising. The beauty and pathos
of all endeavour lie in the air: so many
endings and beginnings. Now. Forever.
winner of the Shropshire Open Poetry Competition (2016) and first published in The Salopeot
‘Due to weather conditions, the evening boat is cancelled.’
Under the risen wind, the waves’ alternate push
and tug unfurls, rolls back, returns again,
while underfoot the shingle shifts and seethes,
a living ground which slides away from me
with a rasping rattle, like hard-won breath.
Graceless, I flail towards the frilled edge
where the foamed sea unrolls itself in greeting.
Sand swirls in the shallows, litter bobs,
and lank fingers of torn weed trail and clutch at me.
But beyond, the deeper reaches free me: I fall forward
into heaven-pale blue-green water which holds
and lifts—where light is delighting in itself,
and the breeze-beaten surface is a shifting infinity
of tiny planes where sun is shattered into stars.
I blink brine-burned eyes and gasp, spitting salt;
a joy rises in me which joins now with far ago,
where a small child is tossed in sure square hands,
and squeals, and is caught again, and danger
is always safe. I laugh, and weep, and play
till I am spent. Leaving the water, I stoop to lift
a piece of sea glass. Tumbled into opacity, it holds
the light. Carefully I fold my fingers over it,
its warm smoothness sweet against my salt-scoured skin.
You can read some more of my poems by following the links on the publications and prizes page.
© Lucy Crispin 2019