There were things no one told us –
how dusk trickled slowly through the cracks
like something you could touch with your trunk,
a soft mist scented with myrtle and laurel,
voluptuous, weighed down by the rills
of brown birds tearing their throats, and pain
below the range of human hearing: the grief
of solitary, creamy moths, the terrified
crumbling of cement. Or how, beyond
watering distance, eyes would kipper in their sockets
and to weep would be like the first gasp
of a fresh wound, cruel and beautiful. How day
would no longer be that sweet climb
into brilliance – the sun oiling the warm
bark of the baobab tree, the horizon glittering
like a needle. How our ears would soon forget
the shape and weave of a continent,
which no amount of trumpeting could bring back
because we were stretched to the very limits
of illumination, our only constant,
fear – not fear of death or darkness or hunger
but the fear that we might go on hoping
for something better than this: a small
adjustment, or a giving in.
About Siriol Troup:
Siriol comes from a Welsh family but was born in Hong Kong and spent most of her childhood and teenage years abroad, in Africa, Germany, Holland and Iran. She now lives in Twickenham with her husband and four children.
She read Modern Languages (French and German) at St Hugh's College, Oxford and later returned there to teach 19th and 20th century French Literature.
Her poems have previously appeared in The TLS, Poetry Review, PN Review, Poetry London, Poetry Wales, Modern Poetry in Translation, and other journals. Her pamphlet, Moss, won the Poetry Monthly Open Booklet competition in 2002 and her first full-length collection, Drowning up the Blue End, was published by Bluechrome in 2004.
She has won many prizes for her poems, including 2nd prize in the Arvon International Poetry Competition 2006. She teaches and lectures on poetry and is currently poet in residence for the Twickenham River Centre Project. Beneath the Rime is her second collection, published by Shearsman.