The Last Thatch

for Thomas Lynch

The sun had dried the haggard to a crust,
whilst up on Riley’s roof they hammered slates.
The donkey’s hooves were puffing up the dust

as we listened to the roofers’ repartee – they cussed
each time their new apprentice made mistakes.
The sun had dried the haggard to a crust.

‘You need to watch your bloody work. A hefty gust
might see you boost the unemployment rates…’
The donkey’s hooves were puffing up the dust

below, tired of the heat and apparently nonplussed
that soon he’d face the derby’s starting gates.
The sun had dried the haggard to a crust.

Racing themselves, the roofers said they must
Get the whole shebang finished before eight’,
when donkey hooves would puff the racetrack dust.

The thatch was gone; the new slates ‘more robust’;
the starter’s gun discharged on real estate.
The sun had dried the racetrack to a crust
where donkey hooves were puffing up the dust.

by Andy Brown

This Friday from 6pm at IES in London, three fantastic poets will be giving a free reading: Ian Duhig, Patience Agbabi, and Hannah Lowe. Sign up to attend via Eventbrite.

The public reading is part of the New-Next Generation contemporary poetry conference on Friday and Saturday, organized by the Poetry Centre and the IES, which features more readings (from Helen Mort and Nick Drake), and discussions about the publishing and reviewing of contemporary poetry. Register separately for the conference on the IES site. All are welcome.

‘The Last Thatch’ is copyright © Andy Brown, 2014. It is reprinted from Exurbia (Worple Press, 2014) by permission of Worple Press.

Notes from Worple Press:

Andy Brown’s
 most recent book of poems is Exurbia (Worple Press 2014). He also collaborated with David Morley on the Worple Press collection Of Science. Previous books include The Fool and the PhysicianGoose Music (with John Burnside), and Fall of the Rebel Angels (all Salt). A selection of his poems appears in the Bloodaxe anthology Identity Parade. He recently edited The Writing Occurs As Song: A Kelvin Corcoran Reader (Shearsman, 2014) and is co-editing, A Body of Work: Poetry and Medical Writing, with Corinna Wagner, for Bloomsbury (2015). He is Director of the Exeter University Creative Writing Programme and was formerly an Arvon Foundation Centre Director. Read more about Andy Brown’s new book on the Worple website, and you can find out more about his academic work on the University of Exeter site.

Worple Press was founded by Peter and Amanda Carpenter in 1997 and publishes 6-8 books a year by new and established poets: collections, pamphlets, works in translation, essays, interviews. Early authors included Iain Sinclair, Joseph Woods, Beverley Bie Brahic, Kevin Jackson and the acclaimed American nature poet Peter Kane Dufault. Recent collections (2014/2015) include Andy Brown’s Exurbia, Isabel Galleymore’s Dazzle Ship, Martyn Crucefix’s A Hatfield Mass, Julian Stannard’s The Street of Perfect Love, and Clive Wilmer’s UrbanPastorals. More information can be found at the publisher’s website, and on Facebook and Twitter.

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.