Building Materials

If I lie on the kitchen floor,
my back shrinking from cold quarry stone,
I can see the night’s purple sky. 

The roof isn’t yet fixed. He tries,
works hard against the weather,
but this is only one of many jobs. 

His arms, that used to reach for me,
are always full of bricks,
his mouth full of clay.

I watch the moon through fallen tiles.
Tomorrow we must steady them
against the threat of rain. 

by Claire Walker

News from the Centre: we urge you not to miss the chance to hear three of the leading poets writing in the UK when they visit us in Oxford next week. Do tell your friends! Tickets to hear Kei Miller (22 May), Sinéad Morrissey (23 May), and Clare Pollard (24 May) are free, but you do need to book. Book for Kei here, Sinéad here, and Clare here, or all three here!

These readings are part of the Think Human Festival at Oxford Brookes, during which we’re also helping to run an exciting event on 25 May called Stanza and Stand-Up, in which poetry and comedy battle it out! Tickets are available here.

Finally, tomorrow at Keble College, Stephanie Burt (US) and Hera Lindsay Bird (New Zealand) will be reading from their work at 6.30pm in the Pusey Room – full details here.

‘Building Materials’ is copyright © Claire Walker, 2017. It is reprinted from the pamphlet Somewhere Between Rose and Black (V. Press, 2017) by permission of  V. Press.

Notes from V. Press:

Claire Walker is a poet based in Worcestershire. Her work has been published in magazines and on websites including The Interpreter’s HouseProleInk Sweat and TearsAnd Other PoemsThe Poetry ShedObsessed with Pipework and Clear Poetry, and in anthologies such as The Chronicles of Eve (Paper Swans Press) and Crystal Voices (Crystal Clear Creators). She is a Poetry Reader for Three Drops Press, and Co-Editor of Atrium poetry webzine. Her most recent pamphlet – from which this poem was taken – is entitled Somewhere Between Rose and Black, and it was shortlisted in the Saboteur Awards for Best Poetry Pamphlet. Her first pamphlet, The Girl Who Grew Into a Crocodile, is also published by V. Press. You can read more about Claire’s work on her website and follow her on Twitter

V. Press publishes poetry and flash fiction that is very very, with emphasis on quality over any particular style. Established with a launch at Ledbury Poetry Festival 2013 and shortlisted in The Michael Marks Publishers’ Award 2017, V. Press poetry knows what it wants to do and does it well. Find out more on the press’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.