Friday Poem – ‘Sailing by Silvership’ by Polly Atkin


This week’s Friday Poem is ‘Sailing by Silvership’ by Polly Atkin from her most recent collection Much With Body.

This cover shows a painting of a swimmer floating on her back in a blue-green lake.

Much With Body is the startlingly original second collection by poet Polly Atkin. The beauty of the Lake District is both balm and mirror, refracting pain and also soothing it with distraction. Much of the landscape is lakescape, giving the book a watery feel. There is also a distinct link with the past in a central section of found poems taken from transcripts of the journals of Dorothy Wordsworth, from a period late in her life when she was often ill. In common with the works of the Wordsworths, these poems share a quality of the metaphysical sublime. Their reverence for the natural world is an uneasy awe, contingent upon knowledge of our fragility and mortality.

Sailing by Silvership
The moon is a ship
and we are sailing in her
how can we not talk about her?
She glistens
and we glisten
she throws out nets of herself, trailing
clouds like weeds
and we walk them as bridges
to the stars, arm in arm, singing.
And the stars themselves
are glistening aren’t they?
like specks of quartz in dark rock, spangling
the great unknowable
expanse as it squeezes
into this particular wedge of night
the swell of this road
the dark fell sea
soon, we will be there, sister
waving from the deck
of the one you call
dipper – so big we can sit in it! – no
so big
it will carry us away.

Much With Body is available on the Seren website: £9.99

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