Friday Poem – The Sound of a Diamond Planet


The Sound of a Diamond Planet comes from Sheenagh Pugh’s collection Short Days, Long Shadows, published in 2014.

In this, her twelfth collection, noted poet Sheenagh Pugh steps into a new, northern landscape, the Shetland Islands, with poems steeped in the wilder weathers and views of rugged coastlines, sweeping sea-vistas and the hardy historical characters who have inhabited these lands. There is a lovely pared-down spareness, and elegiac formality to poems like ‘Travelling with Ashes’, ‘Staying’, and ‘Trondheim: January’ where the inhabitants appear lost in a ‘strange pink daylight’, and in ‘Gardening’ where ‘White stones are shaped like hearts’. The author’s characteristic dry humour emerges elsewhere as in ‘Extremeophiles’, a paean to bacteria – ‘chancers’ who live without sun. A poet who considers ‘too accessible’ to be the best sort of compliment, Sheenagh Pugh’s work has as much to offer the general reader as it does the specialist, who will admire her artful use of traditional forms.

Sheenagh will be reading at the Stanza Festival on the 5th March. For more information check out our website!

The Sound of a Diamond Planet

I seem to be surrounded
by things not quite there,

like the fieldmice munching
unseen inside my walls,

the spit of sand
uncovered at low tide,

the slick rock waiting to be
a waterfall again.

A planet, they say,
made all of diamond

resonates in its orbit,
light years beyond

human hearing, its brittle sound
broadcast in space.

Order Short Days, Long Shadows from Seren’s website.

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