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Picture 12549520, photograph by Philip Dunn, 1988, image copyright Mary Evans / Philip Dunn

Remembering Laugharne
by Sue Hubbard

 

in memory of Dylan Thomas

 

How odd, after all these years
to return to the boathouse as the dawn mist
rises ghostly as a lapwing’s heart-cry

to lure daybreak from the grieving dark,
and catch the ghost of you out on the mudflats
in your old tweed coat

whelking for poems:
my beast, my angel, my fat little fool.
On these tidal reaches

Where Taf, Towy and Gwendraweth
meet and boats lie beach in
a silver throat of brackish water,

I danced barefoot, gathered cockles
In the hem of my long skirt, salty vulvae
to boil in a broth for you on the black iron stove.

At night, in our pink bedroom
you sucked me clean amid a musk
of winter apples, spilt bottles of ale.

Rats scuttled in the privy. Bath-time
I’d lay out dolly mixture in the soap tray,
scrub your plump baby’s back.

Unruly children we clung together
in an adult world. But with the rage,
the drinking, an innocence was lost.

That morning I found you dying across
an ocean, they strapped me in a straitjacket
for smashing the hospital crucifix.

Still I see your curly head against
the regulation pillow. Those little
fin-like hands curled on the white sheet.

 

 

© Sue Hubbard, from Everything Begins with the Skin (Enitharmon, 1995)

Picture 12549520, photograph by Philip Dunn, 1988, image copyright Mary Evans / Philip Dunn

 

 

Sue Hubbard is an award-winning poet, novelist and freelance art critic, with an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. She is twice winner of the London Writers Competition, with a third prize in the National Poetry Competition. Her publications include¬†Everything Begins with the Skin¬†(Enitharmon),¬†Ghost Station,¬†The Forgetting and Remembering of Air¬†(Salt), and¬†The Idea of Islands¬†(Occasional Press).¬†Swimming to Albania, her fourth collection, was published by Salmon Press in 2021, and her fourth novel Flatlands is due from Pushkin Press in 2023. Twenty of her poems were included in An Anthology: Carcanet 2000. Her poetry has been recorded for The Poetry Sound Archive, read on¬†Poetry Please,¬†The Verb¬†and¬†Front Row, and appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, as well as in¬†The Irish Times¬†and¬†The Observer. She has published a collection of short stories,¬†Rothko‚Äôs Red¬†(Salt), and two novels,¬†Depth of Field¬†(Dewi Lewis) and¬†Girl in White¬†(Cinnamon Press), for which she received a major Arts Council Award. Her third novel,¬†Rainsongs, was published in 2018 to great critical acclaim from¬†The Guardian,¬†The Irish Times,¬†The Irish Independent¬†and¬†The Jewish Chronicle, among many others. It is also published by Overlook Press, US, Mercure de France and Yilin Press, China. As an art critic she has written regularly for¬†The Independent,¬†Time Out,¬†The New Statesman¬†and many leading art magazines. Her selected art writings,¬†Adventures in Art, are published by Other Criteria. As The Poetry Society‚Äôs only Public Art Poet, she was responsible for London‚Äôs largest public art poem, ‚ÄėEurydice‚Äô, in the IMAX tunnel at Waterloo, commissioned as part of the South Bank regeneration.

 

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