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Scarlett Ward Bennett

the poet

Scarlett Ward Bennett is a West Midlands poet whose debut collection ache – published by Verve Poetry Press in 2019 – has been nominated for a 2020 Forward Poetry Prize. She was nominated for Best Spoken Word Performer in the 2019 Saboteur Awards, and came third in the Wolverhampton Literature Festival Prize judged by Roy McFarlane. Scarlett runs several poetry workshops, and hosts the 'Versification' poetry evening in Cannock. A self-confessed hedgehog lady, she volunteers for West Midlands Hedgehog Rescue.

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the poems

Culling Season

00:00 / 00:44

Somewhere in a town that is best known
for how deep it has dug underneath itself,
where the addresses are earthy like “May Dene” and “Old Fallow”,
and roads fling themselves lethargically around woodland bends,
a pot hole rips the gut out of an exhaust on an accelerating Ford
with all the viciousness of antlers on bark. After all, it is rutting season,
and it’s all I can think of lately; feuding stags butting skulls,
concrete tearing out metal piping,
and the way my neighbour boasted to me this morning
of the fawn he shot through the eye socket.

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We're going to have to talk
about it at some point

00:00 / 00:46

aren’t we?
Except, I don’t want to.
Can’t instead we talk of dandelion manes;
the way they nose their way through
cracks in the pavement,
only to be scattered in infinite directions
when kicked violently enough,
scorned spores spiraling;
frantic heads of fine-spun lace
dizzying themselves away,
as though away is the only place far enough
from that damned kicking boot.
Can we focus on the flowers
and not think of anything else –
not of how I ran home to my mum’s house,
shame dampening the crotch of my underwear,
and not of the beads from my snapped bracelet
that I clutched tightly in my fist.

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What Is True Of Spring

00:00 / 00:54

is true also of ourselves.
Learn from her;
how she unfurls her flowered fists,
waits for buds to burst from the end of branches,
like beading blood on kneecaps,
or lacquer slicked at the end of knuckled hands.
Heal from your wounds womb first; blood
is no omen of death, but of the pact we make with life.
Even fossils dream of dawn,
brittle from singing themselves hoarse
clinking away under all that soil
like forgotten coins in a deep pocket
waiting to be unearthed.
What if none of us ever stopped singing,
the same way an oak remembers its notes of green
once April comes back around
no matter how much white winter had buried it in?

Publishing credits

All poems: ache (Verve Poetry Press)

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