The egg ferments, the one cell splits in two:
again, four: again, eight: sixteen: thirty-two.
Droplets of fat, like miniature dabs of butter,
nourish and sustain. Welcome, morula,
little mulberry… free-falling, spineless,
until, upon the uterine surface,
touchdown. Transparent, semi-opaque, solid,
the heart comes to fruition, big as a head.
Welcome, tiddler, mild water-scorpion.
Gills disappear, cartilage becomes bone.
Full term: seismic waves, electrical storms,
the twelve-hour haul of not being born,
between two worlds – induced. I make it late,
this bloody, headlong drop towards the light.
by A.B. Jackson
‘1965’ is copyright © A.B. Jackson, 2003. It is reprinted from Fire Stations (2003) by permission of Anvil Press.
Notes from Anvil Press:
Born in Glasgow in 1965, Andrew Buchanan Jackson grew up in Bramhall, Cheshire, later receiving his secondary education in Cupar, Fife. He studied English Literature at Edinburgh University and now works in Glasgow.
One of ten poets chosen for Anvil New Poets 3 (2001), Jackson was singled out by John Greening in Poetry Review for his ‘demanding and ambitious work: direct, sharp in manner, with an intellectual edge, a valedictory quality.’ Fire Stations won Best First Collection in the 2003 Forward Poetry Prizes. Find out more about Fire Stations from the Anvil site, and more about A.B. Jackson from his website. You can read further selections from the book here. In 2011, Jackson published a pamphlet of twenty-one poems called Apocrypha.
Anvil Press, founded in 1968, is based in Greenwich, south-east London, in a building off Royal Hill that has been used at various points in its 150-year history as a dance-hall and a printing works. Anvil grew out of a poetry magazine which Peter Jay ran as a student in Oxford and retains its small company ethos. Visit Anvil’s website here, where you can sign up to their mailing list to find out about new publications and events.
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