A dark blue hourglass on the bookshelf fills
with evening light. I turn it over, watch
the sand slip through its waist, narrow as a wasp’s
& count the time it takes the sand to fall…

Outside, the Western Ocean cracks its whips
against the stacks of rock at Castle Point,
those hulking blocks of granite that once slipped
onto the sea, now ground to sand & quartz.

Inside, the Irish Theological
informs us there are two types of slipped disc –
‘hard’ & ‘soft’. The first hits suddenly,
the other’s slow, like the changes of our love.

Kept indoors by the rain our daughter laughs.
She points out to the bay & voices ‘blue’
& I can’t help but feel that we’re the halves
the sand of her young life now trickles through.

by Andy Brown

‘Slippage’ is copyright © Andy Brown, 2001. It is reprinted from Of Science, edited by David Morley & Andy Brown (published by Worple Press in 2001) by permission of Worple Press.

Notes from Worple Press:

Of Science is a sample of poems by contemporary poets who are also trained as scientists. The writers of this selection are drawn from the fields of freshwater ecology, mathematics, marine biology, neural physiology, ethnology, computing, phenomenology and biochemistry. The mode of selection is modelled on the 1802 Lyrical Ballads, in the spirit of Miroslav Holub’s notion of ‘serious play’, with the shared belief of Wordsworth and Coleridge that ‘poetry is the breath and finer spirit of all knowledge; it is the impassioned expression which is the countenance of all science.’ Read more about the book on Worple’s site.

Andy Brown is Director of the Exeter University Writing Programme, and was formerly an Arvon Foundation Centre Director. He collaborated with David Morley on the Worple Press poetry collection Of Science. His most recent book of poems is The Fool and the Physician (Salt Publishing). Other recent books are Goose Music (with John Burnside), Fall of the Rebel Angels (both Salt) and The Storm Berm. A selection of his poems appears in the Bloodaxe anthology Identity Parade. He edited two collections of correspondences with authors, Binary Myths 1&2, and is editing a book of essays on Kelvin Corocoran (Shearsman). He is also co-editing A Body of Work: Poetry and Medicine 1750-present with Corinna Wagner, for Bloomsbury/Continuum. Find out more about Andy Brown’s work from his blog.

Worple Press was founded by Peter and Amanda Carpenter in 1997. Since then they have published a wide range of authors, including Iain Sinclair, Joseph Woods, Elizabeth Cook, Beverley Bie Brahic, Clive Wilmer and Kevin Jackson. They published the selected poems of the acclaimed American nature poet Peter Kane Dufault for the first time in the UK (Looking in All Directions); this was followed in 2007 by Kane Dufault’s To be in the same world. Peter Robinson’s The Great Friend and Other Translated Poems was the Poetry Book Society Recommended Translation for Spring 2002. This impressive backlist was augmented in 2012 by three significant titles: Passio: Fourteen Poems by Janos Pilinszky from Clive Wilmer and George Gomori; Riddance by Anthony Wilson; and the republication of William Hayward’s cult novel from 1964, It Never Gets Dark All Night. Over 2013 and 2014 new titles include work from John Greening, Michael McKimm, Peter Robinson, Mary Woodward and Sally Flint. More information can be found on Worple Press’s new website and Facebook page.

Copyright information: please note that the copyrights of all the poems displayed on the website and sent out on the mailing list are held by the respective authors, translators or estates, and no work should be reproduced without first gaining permission from the individual publishers.