Nomad Song

Now, far from the sea
the sea-lure remains.
Come home, I say.

My hands can carry less and less.
I want you near,
but you move further away.

Your belongings come along:
a small teak stamp box,
smooth and soft in my hands.

A tiny glass hexagon
colorful parrots inside.
They swing with you in eternity
on little plastic vines.

Chatwin’s ‘Anatomy of Restlessness’,
the last book you read.
‘We are travellers from birth.’

You, too, shed things and places
like layers of skin.

Now, far from the sea
the sea-lure remains.

Come home I say,
but you move further away.

by Lynne Hjelmgaard

Join us this Saturday when we pair up with the Oxfordshire Science Festival for a celebration of poetry about science! We’ll be hearing the winning poems in the Science Festival’s school poetry competition (judged by Poetry Centre Director Niall Munro and others), and there will be a reading by Oxford-based poet Kelley Swain, recently one of the poets-in-residence at the Oxford Museum of Natural History. For more details, visit this page.

There are only a handful of tickets left for ‘moments/that stretch horizons’: an international poetry symposium, which takes place here at Brookes on 28 June. Together with colleagues from the University of Reading, and the International Poetry Studies Institute (IPSI) at the University of Canberra, we will be exploring poetry about the environment, prose poetry and the lyric, and poetry and publishing. Tickets for the day (including refreshments and lunch) cost £10 (£7.50 for postgraduates). All poets, critics, and readers of poetry are welcome, and you can sign up here.

The Poetry Centre’s International Poetry Competition, judged this year by award-winning poet Helen Mort, is open for entries! Poems are welcomed from writers of 18 years or over in the following two categories: English as an Additional Language and Open category. First Prize in both categories is £1000, with £200 for Second. The competition is open for submissions until 11pm GMT on 28 August 2017. Visit our website for more details.

‘Nomad Song’ is copyright © Lynne Hjelmgaard, 2016, and reprinted by permission of Seren Books.

Notes from Seren:

The poet Lynne Hjelmgaard has written a beautifully evocative recollection of a journey she took by sailboat with her husband across the Atlantic to the Caribbean and Europe. A Boat Called Annalise moves from scenes of risk and turbulence, of wild beauty on the open water, to visions of their dream-like destination in the West Indies. The author’s clear-eyed and tender observations are as insightful about the paradox of paradise: tropical splendor amidst local poverty, as they are about the challenges of relationships at close quarters. You can read more about the book on the Seren website.

Lynne Hjelmgaard was born in New York City and lives in London. She taught Creative Art for children in various schools and institutions before she started writing poetry. She left the States in 1990 for the second time and has been living permanently in the UK since 2011. As a result of crossing the Atlantic in a sailboat with her husband she wrote the poems that were later collected in Manhattan Sonnets. After her husband died in 2006, she received a residency grant for the Danish Academy in Rome where she wrote poems that later appeared in The Ring. Writing about A Boat Called Annalise, Dannie Abse remarked: ‘[t]he whole book is powered by the synergy of related poems. This arresting sequence is much more than that of a percipient tourist. Widowhood allows them to acquire a poignant universality.’ You can learn more about Lynne Hjelmgaard’s work on the poetry pf website.

Seren has been publishing poetry for 35 years. We are an independent publisher specialising in English-language writing from Wales. Seren’s wide-ranging list includes fiction, translation, biography, art and history. Seren’s authors are shortlisted for – and win – major literary prizes across Britain and America, including the 2014 Costa Poetry Prize (for Jonathan Edwards’ My Family and Other Superheroes). Amy Wack has been Seren’s Poetry Editor for more than 20 years. You can find more details about Seren on the publisher’s website

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.