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Susie Campbell



the poet

Susie Campbell's poems have appeared in many UK and international journals, visual poetry anthologies and exhibitions. Currently studying for a practice-based poetry PhD at Oxford Brookes University, Susie is the author of six poetry pamphlets – I return to you, Tenter and Enclosures being her three most recent. Her newest work, The Sleeping Place, will be published by Guillemot Press in 2023.

the poems

A Deictic Miracle,
This Boxwood Prayer Nut

Exhibit: Waddesdon Bequest,

British Museum

00:00 / 01:41

To hold and be held, an uncracked walnut, a little earth. There is something strange about this richness, growing into its own boundaries, rank and subtle as a hunted creature. Time has become a strongbox of interlocking branches. Global complexities, plumbed with pipelines of gold, are reduced to wafer-thin discs, slotted one into the other, light bevelled into a compound syntax of mortise and tenon. An articulation of honest wood, it holds the shape and hard veins of the forest by fitting it to the palm: an armillary sphere circling an internal sun, opened by flicking up a tiny hinge secured on its pin. Ahead, glimmering through a tiny screen, carved and fretted to this terrestrial cage, a thimble saint with his trembling hound bows before the stag. Kneeling here, prayer beads in hand, an intricate system of shadow blows from antler and slender branch to form the cross, thorn-sized and lifted to the wooden sky, as outside bends to imitate this reconciliation.

if magic

00:00 / 01:24

                             if such ordinary            box jar tin or burlap

                             and if tested           unbought night finds an

                             opening past neighbours            fought for 

                             squeaking and scratched open by tiny razor-

                             sharp     and left beyond and further    how

                             the night  is done with moss and damp and

                             squelch              and how quickly attaching

                             themselves to dark are wet marbles    if tied

                             up in a pouch and with mercy  new-opened

                             and sticky and still smelling of  sleep as sap

                             is and here        a soft clink of word against

                             word     could be taken for protection      a

                             charm  new-minted  from  darkness  against

                             theirs    ours    some dispensable       such

                             brittle  claims   across  this  globe  of  glass

                             could  be  soothed  or silenced  if won  by

                             this as talisman


00:00 / 01:43

A hill beneath and a filled-in door. This bench, its damp wooden flowers. A dead tree stripped clean and time fucking stops. You reach a corner of you are there.

You are there.

An edge of grief you can park in an empty tongue. The fields are empty.

                                                  That’s near enough.

You expect you have come here to honour the dead. An open field looks like battlefield words: gone, absent, missing. You come to hold it in memory but it becomes spongy underfoot.

You do not mean to remember her, the time you brought her here. A list in a notebook of useful words:







Sodden ground but your body remembers so you try to follow even as it is hardening and solidifying, becomes a whole, no longer possible to enter nor be held by it. Nil. Null. Hush. Ssh. Shush. You cannot enter nor explore its spaces nor the dead in their apophatic silence

                                              that gap in words. Listen. Hush.

Publishing credits

A Deictic Miracle, This Boxwood Prayer Nut:

  Shearsman Magazine (125/126 – Autumn/Winter)

if magic: Stride Magazine (December 2021)

Hush: Tenter (Guillemot Press)


S h a r e

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