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Readers are asked to send a note of any misprints or mistakes that they spot in this poem to editor@pnreview.co.uk

This poem is taken from PN Review 257, Volume 47 Number 3, January - February 2021.

Five Poems Tara Bergin
The Awakening

better

he remembered the dreams he had had
as he lay there in fever and delirium
in the last days of Lent and Eastertide
during the latter days of Lent and Easter week
during the end of Lent and Holy Week
when he dreamt of a sickness on the streets of Hotan
when he dreamt of a sickness on the streets of Moscow
when he dreamt of a sickness on the streets of Lahore
and saw the fabric of life unravelling
when he saw the whole world desolated

only children moving through the dreamworld
brothers fleeing from burning buildings
the older brother passing down the younger brother
the younger brother jumping from the older brother’s arms
whole villages and towns
whole cities and populations
washing their hands
covering their faces

but somewhere in the back of the dream
somewhere in the back of the dream
salmon flew from their nets
falcons swam from their chains
forests of ash and sycamore
awoke from a coma in a kind of re-birth
and saw their whole lives
in a different way



The Killers

Summer and Winter:
two girls in school.
One is kind
and one is cruel.
They share the same table
and wear the same things.
If they were sisters
they would be twins.



This Rain

I painted a painting called This Rain.
All night the black ran down.
In the morning the studio floor
was a flooded plain.
Then I painted a painting called Milk River.

I painted a painting called Milk River.
All night the white ran down.
In the morning the studio floor
was a flooded plain.
Then I painted a painting called This Rain.



Mean Sea Level

Here is information about water everything is water the cities the towns the collieries water the cottages the mouths the denes all water the parks the phonebooths the towers water the swings the slides the pylons water the locks and the docks and the piers water the sewers the buses the golf course water the hamlets the farmsteads the hay barns water Shot Rock Liddle Stack Well Rock water The Snook The Winker the Training Wall water The Wreck The Radar The Steel Works water Emmanuel Goldstone Paradise water Skate Road Plough Road Whirl Rock water Crumstone Knivestone Longstone water Gun Rock Greenhill Shorestown water Leith Dunbar Eyemouth water Bridge Road Low Road New Road water everything is water



Quartz

Say you take a piece of quartz found on a building site on the side of a road and you put it on a sheet of paper on the windowsill on a sunny morning during the Holidays. Not yours, theirs. Say There’s Nothing to Do. They say that not you. Say it’s warm because of the sun yet cold in spite of it. Say your own soul is dark like the coal in the hod. Or like the soot at the foot of the coal bunker the soul no one sees but the disappointed shovel. Okay say the coal man knows but he never dwells he has raised his status where you retained yours. Say you take the magnifying glass and look through it at the quartz and say you see it shine and say it blinds the soul that bothers you pulls at your hem. Say it is a spotlight onto your good side. Say it warms your cockles and mussels and makes you put them in a barrow. Wheel them like babes by the light-filled river and sing them away. Say you’re a this, say you’re a that. Say the light dazzles distracts you from your own complications. Shines or blinds the self out of itself like cauterising a wound. Say cauterize. Say sear. Say Hot. Iron. Pleasing for it do be old fashioned. Today a blood blister. Tomorrow I eat from your spoon. What next, if we already share spit and injury? Say Blame. Say Hope. Say it in the cold dark of day so that your breath crystalises and I can pluck it and wear it as a Brooch. Say it: No one wears Brooches anymore.

This poem was written as a commission for BBC 3’s The Verb at Free Thinking (2019).

This poem is taken from PN Review 257, Volume 47 Number 3, January - February 2021.



Readers are asked to send a note of any misprints or mistakes that they spot in this poem to editor@pnreview.co.uk
Further Reading: - Tara Bergin More Poems by... (11) Report by... (1) Articles by... (2) Interview by... (1) Reviews by... (6)
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