Friday Poem – ‘Afternoons Go Nowhere’ by Sheenagh Pugh

This week’s Friday Poem is ‘Afternoons Go Nowhere’ by Sheenagh Pugh, the title poem from her latest collection.

A fascination for history, both as a source of human drama and a field for artful speculation, characterises this collection of poems by Sheenagh Pugh. In Afternoons Go Nowhere the past seems more relevant to the present than ever, human nature never entirely predictable and often non-sensical, the natural world seeming full of a paradoxical beauty. Complex but with clear themes and lucid, musical language, Sheenagh Pugh’s tenth collection will delight discriminating readers.

Afternoons Go Nowhere is available on the Seren website: £9.99

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Friday Poem – ‘The Winchman on Oscar Charlie’ by Sheenagh Pugh

Our Friday Poem this week is ‘The Winchman on Oscar Charlie’ by Sheenagh Pugh from her collection Afternoons Go Nowhere.

A fascination for history, both as a source of human drama and a field for artful speculation, characterises this collection of poems by Sheenagh Pugh. In Afternoons Go Nowhere the past seems more relevant to the present than ever, human nature never entirely predictable and often non-sensical, the natural world seeming full of a paradoxical beauty. Complex but with clear themes and lucid, musical language, Sheenagh Pugh’s tenth collection will delight discriminating readers.

Afternoons Go Nowhere is available on the Seren website: £9.99

Create your free Seren account and enjoy 20% off every book you buy direct from us.

Friday Poem – ‘Bus Station’ by Sheenagh Pugh

Our Friday Poem this week is ‘Bus Station’ by Sheenagh Pugh, from her latest collection Afternoons Go Nowhere.

A fascination for history, both as a source of human drama and a field for artful speculation, characterises this collection of poems by Sheenagh Pugh. In Afternoons Go Nowhere the past seems more relevant to the present than ever, human nature never entirely predictable and often non-sensical, the natural world seeming full of a paradoxical beauty. Complex but with clear themes and lucid, musical language, Sheenagh Pugh’s tenth collection will delight discriminating readers.

Afternoons Go Nowhere is available from the Seren website: £9.99

Create your free Seren account and enjoy 20% off every book you buy from us.

Friday Poem – ‘Big Sky’, Sheenagh Pugh

Friday Poem Big Sky Sheenagh Pugh

This week our Friday Poem is ‘Big Sky’, from Short Days, Long Shadows by Sheenagh Pugh.

Short Days Log Shadows Sheenagh PughIn ‘Big Sky’ the overwhelming vastness of the sky is viewed as if for the first time, at a distance from the claustrophobic trappings of the everyday. We are catapulted to the ‘great ragged brush-strokes of cirrus’ and further still, to the ‘cluster and prickle’ of planets.
Short Days, Long Shadows is Sheenagh Pugh’s twelth collection, and takes her 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.

 

Big Sky

Unbroken by forest or town, this skyline
all hills and ocean: you look up
and your gaze, stopped by no branch, no office block,
overflows with sky, too much to take in
even when you turn slowly in the circle
of green and blue. Who knew how vast
cumulus could boil over, or how sweeping
the great ragged brush-strokes of cirrus,
or, at night, how many bright worlds,
hundreds of years away, cluster and prickle
above our heads? It is as if,
having lived all your life in the jewelled oval
of a miniature, you stepped into a frame
the size of a gallery wall, a landscape
where a few small figures, lost against distance,
seem to be looking for the way out.

 

Short Days, Long Shadows is available from the Seren website: £9.99

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Friday Poem – Spring ’72

To celebrate the coming of spring, our Friday Poem this week is from Sheenagh Pugh’s Selected Poems and is entitled ‘Spring ’72’. This poem is the first Sheenagh ever had published, in one of the 1972 issues of Poetry Wales.

Sheenagh Pugh's Selected PoemsPublished in 1990, Sheenagh Pugh’s Selected Poems is the best of her early work: a generous and wide-ranging selection from her first four collections, together with two dozen previously unpublished pieces. Notable inclusions are the prize-winning ‘M.S.A’ and ‘Intercity Lullaby’, and the much-anthologised ‘Sometimes.’ Throughout, a lively and enquiring mind is brought to bear on how we live and die, and how we might live more equitably. Sheenagh Pugh approaches her subject unpredictably, through Norse saga and snooker, apartheid and falling tortoises, in a poetry of invention and conviction.

Spring ’72

Now open flowers on the shirts of boys;
now mica glistens, asphalt’s morning dew,
from pavements up. Now all the girls look pregnant,
and small red sports cars blossom on the streets.

Now all birds are not sparrows; now all women
unwrap their shapes from winter. Now the man
who thought it might be fun to walk to work
find all sight aches, all touch troubles his blood.

Now all the state of opening, upspring, bud’s
soft burst, a green grenade, scrapes at his grief;
now all the many dead dress him in black
for what they had and what he cannot keep. 

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Friday Poem – The Sound of a Diamond Planet

Short Days Log Shadows Sheenagh Pugh

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.

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Friday Poem – Sea’s Answer

Short Days Log Shadows Sheenagh Pugh

This Friday’ poem, Sea’s Answer, comes from Sheenagh Pugh’s new collection Short Days, Long Shadows. Taking inspiration from the Shetland Islands, these poems are 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  these poems, mixed with plenty of humour, and Sheenagh has as much to offer the general reader as it does the specialist, who will admire her artful use of traditional forms.

Sea’s Answer

I was talking to the sea the other day,
(you get that way, at my age)
and I said, I wish I knew why,

when I figure you, every image
fails me. They are, after all, accurate,
for what that’s worth: the scalloped edge

of lace, the beaten metal sheet,
pewter under cloud, copper at sunrise,
the pleated silk, anyone can see it,

and if they have been seen by many eyes,
still they are none the less true
the thousandth time. I don’t believe in clichés;

words don’t just stop working. But you
swallow each likeness, each true word
and spit it out, rejected; how

does that work?
                     Its stony throat wide,
the sea yawned, breathed out with the hawk
of a consumptive, and answered

“I am not like anything; you speak
of things made or named in my honour,
out of your own hunger, to be like
me. I am myself the metaphor.”

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