Sam Henley Smith
A Person Centred Therapist with a special interest in bibliotherapy, Sam Henley Smith found writing poetry helped her process the death of her parents from COVID-19. Sam’s had work published in a variety of journals, including Anthropocene, Green Ink Poetry and One Hand Clapping. She was longlisted in 2021 for the Plough Poetry Prize, and commended by Jacqueline Saphra in the Winchester Poetry Prize.
Requiem Delphinus Delphis
I find you again, in the body washed in.
You sailed out of this city single and sailed back betrothed,
exchanged the brine in your bloodstream for love,
found land legs and made family your amphibian home.
Now, boat-teeth line the mouth of the muddy creek
where the sea spat the creature out. Face up, fixed grin,
unable to swim with or agin the tide.
Time swallowed the whole whale of it
and retching, the sea returns you to me
in case I hadn't understood
that you were gone.
I have come to the wall to pray
to be with you.
The stone is peppered with scars,
an executioner’s wall –
rows of hearts
You wouldn’t approve,
I can hear you dismissing
such display of affection as
Hand-painted in pretty pink
FUCK COVID on a heart
is not your style.
Yet in the insistent overwriting
of a name, scribed again
I see your pain –
determined to be
etched forever as if
you had held that husband’s hand
had shouted your loves.
A familiar route
I’ve researched it on the internet,
how to brace my back between wall and chair
right leg slightly forward,
knees pinioned fondly
around your together-knees.
It’s my turn to raise you now Dad.
British Red Cross has lent us the commode
but Covid-style, we are alone.
I struggle, ease you to sitting,
gently ease, gently please, then a pause
And if the Tamar Bridge could swing
it would look just like your legs
as its long carefully engineered limbs
manoeuvre in parallel, perfectly paced,
another journey across
a Devon river bed.
The crooks of my arms are hooks now, nestled in your pits.
Requiem Delphinus Delphis: Green Ink Poetry
I have come to the wall to pray: exclusive first publication by iamb
A familiar route: So we go about our days: Winchester Poetry
Prize Anthology 2021 (Winchester Poetry Prize)