Friday Poem – ‘The shame of our island’, Siobhán Campbell

This week our Friday Poem is ‘The shame of our island’ from Siobhán Campbell’s brand new collection, Heat Signature.

Heat Signature Siobhan CampbellIn ‘The shame of our island’ we are confronted with a sense of contested history, in which the hunter’s tongue-in-cheek aim is to ‘see the steaming innards’ of his almost-extinct prey. The ‘shame’ of the title permeates the poem, with the speaker’s questions demanding justification, yet receiving no answer.
Heat Signature is Siobhán Campbell’s fourth full collection, and is composed in her characteristically spikey voice: infused with an intelligence that resists easy answers to the conundrums that have faced her Irish homeland, but also suffused with a grudging admiration for the citizens who have survived their tumultuous history. The blend of dark comedy, tragedy and politics is entirely typical of Campbell’s complex, thoughtful and profoundly entertaining poetry.


The shame of our island

is that we killed the wolf.
Not just the last
but the two before that.

I knew a man who met a man
who was the cousin removed
of the great-grandson of the man
who killed the third-last wolf
on the island.

Slit it he did,
to see the steaming innards –
how long they were, how tightly wound.

Had it a white paw to the fore?
That gene would have been recessive.
Was there a black bar across the yellow eye?
No time to notice its différence.

Is this a wolf with its bared teeth
and its lairy smell
and its fetlock tipped with white?

Is this wolfish?

Heat Signature is available from the Seren website: £9.99
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Attend the Heat Signature book launch in London

Join us at The Flying Horse on Wednesday 15 March, 7:30pm, where we will be celebrating the launch of Heat Signature with a poetry reading by the author and book signing opportunity. Refreshments will be provided and entry is free, so bring your friends for an evening of poetry and merriment.
Find out more






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