Oliver Comins

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the poet

Growing up in Warwickshire, heading north to York, then finally south to settle in West London, Oliver Comins has had his poetry collected in pamphlets from The Mandeville Press and Templar Poetry. His full collection, Oak Fish Island, was published in 2018.

the poems

Brown Leather Gloves

00:00 / 00:58

            These are my Father’s gloves

            with which I am wrestling

            as I walk down to the station

            on another crisp morning

            of frosted cars in a frozen suburb.


            Who’s holding whose hands now?

            Inside the gloves’ fingers there’s

            more of him than there is of me –

            all those years of rubbed skin.


            Leather gives a better grip,

            doesn’t really overcome the cold.

            But it’s better than nothing,

            this thin layer of brown

            which keeps the weather off.


            On the platform

            I remove one Father,

            reach out to greet a friend.

            My other Father holds me steady.

Eight for (Almost) Nothing

00:00 / 01:09

            Doug bowled floaters which travelled slowly

            through the air, almost settling as they landed.

            Some days the ball soared over the boundary,

            cutting his spell short. On others, their batters,

            groggy or over-excited, made a pig’s ear of it,

            so our hero bowled through them with a smile,

            not knowing much more than his opponents.


            That day was one of those, his eight for (almost)

            nothing a remarkable feat, and their captain said

            he’d write it up for the local press. Daft, really,

            to have believed he’d do that and not be left,

            twenty-five years later, writing and wondering

            if anyone out there reading this remembers

            the all-night grin on Doug’s face, celebrating.

Not a Stranger

00:00 / 01:21

            My neighbour’s carer does not come

            from round here. The same can be said

            for most of us who call this place home

            after moving in from somewhere else.

            Water running in the taps on this street

            tastes different to what we drank before.

            Light slants another way above the roofs

            to shadow the paths that run between

            these orderly semis. For some people

            my neighbour’s carer is still a stranger.


            This positioning is neither correct nor fair.

            She is one of us and she is living here

            with a purpose. My neighbour has needs.

            I often overhear the two of them talking –

            re-confirming the day of the week it is

            and deciding what ought to happen next.

            Occasionally, I hear my neighbour’s carer

            singing in the kitchen, and at these times,

            I hope my neighbour is sitting nearby,

            tapping out the melody with her fingers.

Publishing credits

Brown Leather Gloves: Anthology of Fatherhood

  (The Emma Press)

Eight for (Almost) Nothing: The Rialto (Issue 94)

Not a Stranger: first published under the title

  She is Not a Stranger in Westerly (Issue 66.1)