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Two Poems - Emily Oldfield

Hanging Royd


Cast clothes

become a cairn of kept desire

in stone-heavy fustian, lashed with sweat

and          the hollowed mammals of each shoe

watch the channel of the bed.


The night is female          animal

a flex of fingers at cold panes

from hands that once tightened

cords of wool                   and pushed back passions

in a weight. 


She comes in writhing from the mill 

the repeat of holding down         and lashing up

that conjecture of the thread

which casts her cries

through leaves of oak.


It is the window                  she hurls herself against

above the topography

of two bodies, pressed.  And the candle stutters

in its mill-light plunge 

as I give her       to you                 in a breath.  




Walsden, 02/01/2021


You have not known me in this landscape

the mud of my mouth 

beginning as bark. I have

found my feet in a new surface

the sunlight curtained 


at the reach of an arm. 

Here Dean, Clough, Royd

seeded deep in the chest

the rough of local tongue

in this wood-panelled throat


grow to the timbre 

of midnight rain 

where I sow

the shape of the wind 

through my clothes.


Feel me               in a breath

its leaf-stain of cold

becomes still life 

for this hardened stare.  

Meltwater moves down a spine


like the season’s arrow

let me show you this altitude 


the ram’s den                     cut

from my hair.


My verticality unimportant 

and fire forms the suture

but these roots web wires

to the unlit match


unseen hands tend 

in the past and future.

Rival fingers on the axe.

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