Longlisted Poem 2011

Kerry Tamblyn

Altrincham Grammar School for Girls, Cheshire


Alone, and the stroke of my pen on the page
is the dance,
the fragile escape of bubbles:
two, three rising,
is that search for connection,
the tracing of someone’s words long ago
from some lost age,
is the hope of a spark,
is the blaze of that blinded reach in the dark,
is that desperate grasp
of that last burnt full stop
and the drop
of surrendering pen in a graceless arc.

And if one reaching out in the dark of sleep,
one man in a crowd, or one, on the brink, calling out loud
in search of just one thing    (love?)
should feel, just-not-enough,
the whisper, the tentative connection
like the brush of bubble skin,
then why not here? why not now?
when the hope of that feeling,
that trying to understand
is the most basically human,
the most distant and sudden,
and the pen and the paper are that purest collision –
the simple touch of hands.

.  .  .

But I stand
and I leave the pen
and I leave the room,
and the complicated whirl of life in cartoon slides is bright and dizzying,
and there are many things for which we search
but none that simple, none that pure.

.  .  .

Behind closed doors, the pen and the paper,
a stolen moment of humanity: the breeze rolls the nib,
the ink flows
and the bubble cheeks kiss,
bump then part
spiral        out        up
but still, for that one second,
that momentary touch of skin to skin,
that almost not there press
of locked-in air,
that simplest rare occurrence: touch
(outside and in)
their malleable selves carry the mark
of the other’s sudden skin.
© Kerry Tamblyn

Project Details

  • Date January 7, 2015
  • Tags 2011 Simplicity - Longlisted Poems