Emily Blewitt

© Michael Willett

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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 / 01:18

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)

© original authors 2021

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