Your radio has too many voices.

Switch off the phone. Take the ipod from your ear.

Wipe your life sound track. Do it. Your choice is

silence. Just silence. Listen to your fear.



This path, once crowded full of fruit and flowers

is brambled now. Dim traffic fumbles near,

winding its motorway around you now as

litter, rage and tears. Listen to your fear.



Wild garlic in the mud. There, under stones

stumbled aside, dark, scrabbling threads appear.

Your toecap turns a mess of tender bones,

creaking underfoot. Listen to your fear.



The fruit was sweet. Your suit is stained and torn.

Your footsteps quiet in the quivering thorn.


[First prize: The New Writer single poem competition, 2008]

One Response to “On the verge of the M40”

  1. Tom Rice-Oxley Says:

    I’ve read this many times now and it becomes more and more powerful with each reading. It feels as if there’s a well of sadness underlying all your poetry, even when apparently light-hearted, and this particular poem seems to draw directly from that well.

    Interestingly, the last couple of times I’ve read the poem I’ve removed the phrase ‘Listen to your fear’. I know this violates the form, but I found the poem more powerful for it; the reader gradually becomes aware of this insidious fear for herself – surely this has more impact that her having it pointed out?

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