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Liberty Walks Naked
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POLLY ATKIN

 

 

 

Polly Atkin grew up in Nottingham, then lived in East London for seven years before moving to Cumbria. Her debut poetry pamphlet bone song (Clitheroe: Aussteiger, 2008) was shortlisted for the Michael Marks Award, 2009. Her second poetry pamphlet Shadow Dispatches (Bridgend: Seren, 2013) won the Mslexia Pamphlet Prize, 2012, and was shortlisted for the Lakeland Book of the Year, 2014. An extract from her 2017 first collection, Basic Nest Architecture, was awarded New Writing North's Andrew Waterhouse Prize for ‘reflect[ing] a strong sense of place or the natural environment’.

 

 

 

 

Hope Cove

 

 

There is Outer Hope then Inner Hope
depending on how you approach, a steep
clamber between them in either direction.

 

I’d forgotten how it was then - Hope -
how to get there. The signs were clear
but the roads wound narrow and alien, cornering

 

blind, and the sun so bright at times
I was shy of moving. And yet we arrived,
the sea where it always was, white

 

and thrumming, thick with weed. In Outer
Hope we followed our feet, rising
over a bridge of spray and light

 

from Bigbury Bay to Bolt Tail, Cornwall
a whisper off a ghost-horizon, drowned
out by the wrecking din. You should know,

 

Hope is a shattered Armada. But some
bright midday you may stand in its centre,
all the thatch-life of Inner Hope fanning

 

its tail-feathers, spreading its wings, and launching
off from the cob walls in song: disharmonious,
glorious. The earth is red. The air

 

is salt, and keeps pushing you on, bears you
up over pillars of scrub and rusted
mud through the thin blue brine of the sky

 

to a bed of brambles and dog-roses, tamarisks.
Now you remember what it looks like, Hope.
Now you remember where it is.

 

 

 

©2017 Polly Atkin

 

 

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Poetry in And Other Poems

Poetry in The Clearing

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