Ramona Herdman lives in Norwich and is a committee member for Café Writers. Her most recent publications are her poetry collection Glut – one of The Telegraph’s 20 best poetry books of 2022 to buy for Christmas – A warm and snouting thing and Bottle.
Prosody nil, Athletico nil
There’s something about the boundary of a sport
(the edge of snooker’s baize and the audience
in the dims beyond, the mere line that marks
the end of a netball court mid-playground)
that’s so bathetically hypothetical, so
sillily literal. So little.
You have your umpire in his high chair,
with a picketty ladder, that makes him look
pyramid-topper-tiny as he ascends.
Perspective makes your Grecian diver
shrink into a hoppy fly as he rises
effortfully to the highest board.
What’s the point of your immortal stats,
your gyre of rules? For your outside ones
there’s always rain to rain it off or
the sun in your eyes. It’s background noise:
a briefly disturbing mobby roar
over the rooftops, interrupting life.
But then again, sometimes it’s winter midnight
at 4pm and the stadium’s flooded full
of its own self-importance of light
and it’s the one cube of the world left,
looking in on itself like a ring-road supermarket
or a late-night garage in the desert
or a UFO landed on a world stalled
in the era of bicellular worms.
And if you know you’re one of those worms,
what can you do but play? Crawl/hop/vault
best as you can to worship at the altar
of the line. What else is there?
Church Lane, Eaton
I’m always reminded, amidst the carpark’s Porsches,
of the prof in Cardiff who keyed his neighbours’ Benzes,
custom SUVs and Audis with Latin phrases.
I skulk teenagerwise by the doughnut peaches.
I hate Duchy everything. But my heart is ashes
as I cruise the deli counter’s Atlantis of cheeses,
the up-lit liquor shelves’ stained-glass riches.
This place is on my list, for when everything crashes:
you’ll find me in the dairy aisle’s furthest reaches,
dream-deep in clotted cream, heavy as Christmas.
A house always wants
to sit down
The stone wants to be sand.
The timber wants to be soil.
It wants to slump into swamp.
To subside through the cycle.
To lie down in a puddle
and breathe water beetles.
It loves the larvae
blistering under its soffits.
Home-tending is a constant exhortation:
Stand up straight, goddammit!
A lifetime position
as Generalissimo Admin.
Prosody nil, Athletico nil: Magma (84)
Waitrose, Church Lane, Eaton: Raceme (Issue 13)
A house always wants to sit down: Spelt Magazine (Issue 6)