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Picture 11669929, photograph, circa 1960, by Votava, image copyright Mary Evans / Imagno

A Poet
by David Bottomley


A poet is a sculptor of words,

standing back to reappraise his

tender, newborn creation.

How it sits and scans ungainly

on the workbench before him

in the sharp light of morning,

unfurling the fug of midnight oil

to reveal its emerging structure

through natural faults and fissures.

Resolving a tricky conundrum,

he seizes chisel and mallet,

strikes another incisive blow,

lines shatter, words scatter.

He continues to whittle and worry

the small uneven surfaces,

until upon turning it begins

to give back something, a ghostly

impression of the creator’s art,

multi-facets reflecting prevailing light

no matter where it’s placed

or which audience put before,

trying to read the contours

of its raw and polished state,

surrendering the secrets of its

inherent form and mystery.



© David Bottomley

Picture 11669929, photograph, circa 1960, by Votava, image copyright Mary Evans / Imagno



David Bottomley is a London-based poet, playwright and librettist who works with theatre companies, filmmakers and composers. He was recently awarded second prize in the E.H.P. Barnard Poetry Prize 2021. He is currently collaborating with the American composer James Sproul on an orchestral song cycle and short form opera. During lockdown he worked with 50 creatives to interpret 50 poems on film for the Lockdown Poetry Film Festival. He performed in his one-man show, Message In A Bottle, at the 2012 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The Peacock and the Nightingale was produced at the Tenth Avenue Theatre for the 2014 San Diego International Fringe Festival. Britain For Breakfast was a finalist in the Enter Stage Write Awards at the Birmingham Hippodrome in 2020. Two short plays, Insidious Seed and Changing Places, were brought to the screen by Nirak Films. Recent work includes an audio drama, The Bollinger Files, and his latest play, End of the Pier Show.


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