Three poems by Emily Pritchard

Snowdon

We lost our father in the mountains:
on Snowdon, where the land
is pinched

into sharp ridges, the air
clearer than glass, the light

creating endless shadows
where he might have been
but wasn’t.

We could see to the horizon and it
was empty. My spit

turned white with fear.
Our voices rose – the air
we breathed pure helium –

and every cry bounced back to us like calls
put through to voicemail.

When we came down it was late.
The tarns held what was left
of the day’s light.

(previously published in Tower Poetry Summer School anthology, 2016)

 
Afon Dwyfor

At Afon Dwyfor –
where in last summer’s woodland
we picked blackberries –

we take handfuls
of you from a plastic sandwich bag
and for a moment you are

solid and substantial,
like holding your hot firm hand
as you sat on the sofa

with eyes closed, finding
you could no longer stand
or walk.

We trickle each fistful
of soft pale-grey ash
through fingers

or throw it so it hangs
like a cloud of smoke, lands
in complex patterns

and is carried away
to where the current expands,
thicker and darker

than I knew water could be.
Upstream, a fallen oak spans
the banks like a bridge.

The task done,
I edge along this grand
old tree to where,

half way across,
the river is so loud I can
speak without hearing my voice.

 
Strain

I press my father’s thumb
firm to my eyelid, feel

the hatchling’s
heartbeat, here

then gone again, dog
dreaming behind my eye.

Strain, spasm, tremor, pulse,
something

stirring, hive inside
a wall. Insect

wings, doubt
that nags.

Tiny wise goddess
waiting to burst

through, moth
against pane,

tapping Morse code
for let us rest.

 

Emily Pritchard is a poet and reviewer, studying for a Masters in Poetry and Poetics at the University of York, UK. Coming from a performance poetry background, she has taken part in the Roundhouse and BBC Edinburgh Fringe poetry slams, and hosted the Slay on Words slam in York. In 2018 she won the Helen Cadbury Award in York Literature Festival Poetry Competition. Find her on Twitter @poetrypritch

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