Friday Poem – Skeeter Syndrome

For our Friday Poem this week we have ‘Skeeter Syndrome’ from Rhian Edwards’ dark and sensual debut collection Clueless Dogs.

Winner of Wales Book of the Year 2013
Winner of the Roland Mathias Prize for Poetry 2013
Winner of Wales Book of the Year People’s Choice 2013
Shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection 2012

Full of verve and humour, with a spiky syntax featuring hard-edged consonants, Rhian Edwards’ language has a winning honesty and intensity. Poems like ‘The Welshman Who Couldn’t Sing’ chronicle a fraught childhood in Bridgend, south Wales, where the sensitive child escapes through imaginative games of ‘Playing Dead’ and ‘Broken Lifeboat’. Later poems confidently explore teenage lusts, student rivalries, damaged peers and tense situations. Although the author doesn’t flinch from ruthless depictions in which we are often implicated by her use of the second person ‘You’, there is an underlying sweetness, an elegiac thread most evident in the poems of maturity.

Skeeter Syndrome

I felt a tickle to my ankle,
saw her, dithering in the air
light as dandelion snow,
a winged needle, a mother-to-be
clumsy with the harvest of my blood.

I caught her dancing on the wall,
crushed her with a single applaud.
I opened my hand to a mangle of limbs,
a patch of my own blood – the stigma
of killing something full of me.

Buy Clueless Dogs on our website.


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