Longlisted Poem 2013

Haroun Hameed

Alleyn’s School, London

Heartwood

‘If (these words) are not the tying and the untying of the riddle, they are nothing.’
Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass
I
High summer.  Light found the chestnut
too easily.  She sidestepped
Into a cove of yolk,

Knitting her young eye
Shut.  When autumn sang to its gods,
It bowed

The forest’s gaze to the cold soaked ground –
Compressed in the soil
Of herself, she stared

Long and hard at an eyelid.
Stared until she knew
Each capillary off by heart,

And then she ravelled up in dark.

II
And around lay scabbards,
Urchins yawning
Memories of wind-song,

but I chose her.
Her gaze was still splicing
Through bark and sap and marrow

and lymph.  Excalibur.
She cut straight to the heartwood.
I was netted by

the dense topography of the grain,
Mapping the mountains months had scanned,
and I heard in that minute

A sword clang loose from a stone.

III
Ravelling her back, gently
Into a lexical husk, I felt
Like a fisherman.

She had the hook’s scar
In her gums.
I discarded the catch

For another’s line.
© Haroun Hameed

Project Details

  • Date January 23, 2015
  • Tags 2013 The Details - Longlisted Poems