Emily Blewitt

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Emily Blewitt

© Michael Willett

the poet

Author of This Is Not A Rescue and poetry submissions editor for New Welsh Reader, Emily Blewitt has poems in The Rialto, Poetry Wales, Ambit and The North, among others. She was Highly Commended in the 2016 Forward Prizes, and has appeared at the Hay Festival and on Radio 4. Emily has collaborated with other writers and artists on the Weird and Wonderful Wales project, and is a recipient of a Literature Wales bursary. She's currently writing her second collection.

the poems

13 weeks, 2 days

00:00 / 01:18

              I don’t know how to say it,

              but there you were—little ghost

              in my ceiling, floating

              on your side. The outline

              of your slim hips, strung spine

              stretched lazily in the same position

              I sleep some nights, facing away

              from your father. We watched you refuse

              to show us your nose. You offered

              your crown instead, crossed and uncrossed

              your arms and legs, dipped

              upside-down. You were turning

              the way a seal rolls underwater

              for joy. You were radiant

              and reluctant to share. The midwife said

              this was your place, that we were


              just visiting. When finally

              you lay on your back, a small otter

              cradling clam and rock, she was quick

              as a heron slipping a fish to the gullet

              to capture your image. She had to be.

              You were elusive. A natural phenomenon

              observed perhaps twice. Luminous

              like algae on the water,

              like Northern Lights.

Archaeology

00:00 / 01:25

              It’s getting your eye in:

              scraping the surface layer

              by layer with the edge of a trowel,

              moving the earth towards you

              and exposing the soil, a clutter

              of generations before you.

              Brushing dirt off dirt.

              Holding dirt to the light

              and tossing.

              Sifting dirt like prospectors.

              We dampen the ground, show

              the plough-lines’ scar,

              the clay cap that looks like stone,

              the outline of the ring pit.

              Stains show organic matter.

              Marrow sticks to the tongue.

              We mark what we find in situ

              because we must.

              Context is everything.


              Love, this is how we find ourselves

              once more in a field, with swifts and hares

              and the farmer.

              Where tributaries fuse,

              where a person might stand

              from a rath with her children and look

              out to sea. For every two people

              on their hands and knees,

              four more wait at the edge

              of the trench. This slow unearthing

              makes us. We dig, not knowing

              what it is that we are digging for.

Parch Marks

00:00 / 01:26

              That was the year it snowed in March.

              Drifts inside the front door,

              a small snowman in a corner

              of the attic, and I crunched

              up and down the hill to our house

              in walking boots, keeping

              to the verge. We scattered

              bird seed in the garden.

              I conceived

                                       and lost it just before


              the heatwave struck, in May.

              The grass singed, my sweet peas failed

              to flower, our house was airless

              and we couldn’t sleep or touch

              each other. The cat shifted

              from tile to tile. I blistered

              walking up and down the hill

              in sandals. By August,

              thunderstorms broke

                                        the tension between us


              and my headaches eased.

              You told me that when lightning strikes

              the junction box three times, it shorts.

              I became lighter, stronger,

              like wire. When the clouds cleared,

              parch marks everywhere: seen

              from the air, scars on the body

              of the land that prove

              there were settlements;

                                                        that someone once lived

              here    and    here.

Publishing credits

13 weeks, 2 days: Islands Are But Mountains: New poetry

  from the United Kingdom (Platypus Press, 2019)

Archaeology: exclusive first publication by iamb

Parch marks: Creative Countryside (Spring 2019)