Two Poems

Harriet Tarlo

Tetney Haven

out past oil pipe
out past sluice gate
saline protection
Sand Haile Flats
stretch, samphire
awaits may : red-
rust gate side-angle
open : canal outfall
merge Lud mouth :
here ships exported
wool & corn, landed
coal & timber

        DANGER
            DEEP
             MUD

reed rustle knock
hollow stem slippery
red clover path by
deep cut channel
creeks crevicing into
marsh : scoter flies
up & over grey
november : redshanks
probe mud swathing
into its own shining
smelling shape not
taking human weight

 

New Delights

low where horses
trekked yarrow
nettle thistle trail
pale to darkest pink
july through high
wind-lit part-purpled
teasel, silver-green
bracts & spines, Tetney
church tower sways
behind deep willow-
hidden wells : buzzard
circle-soars over high
yellow ragwort down
low to watermint

red tractor & baler
send dust flying, larks
high over windmill
turn, oil tanks’ green
on green : starlings up
over gates & hedges
telegraph poles hay-
wire lines & high
pressure pipeline
warning posts bright
white & orange stalking
over farms & cross canal
from Theddelthorpe
to Killingholme

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Harriet Tarlo’s publications include Field (Shearsman, 2016) Poems 2004-2014 (Shearsman 2015); Poems 1990-2003 (Shearsman, 2004); Nab (etruscan 2005), and, with Judith Tucker, Sound Unseen, behind land, outfalls, and neverends (all from Wild Pansy, 2013-2018). She is editor of The Ground Aslant: An Anthology of Radical Landscape Poetry (Shearsman, 2011). Critical work appears in volumes from Salt, Palgrave, Rodopi and Bloodaxe and in Pilot, Jacket, English and the Journal of Ecocriticism. Her collaborative work with Tucker has been shown at galleries in Southampton; Minneapolis; Grimsby; Lyon and Cambridge. She is a Reader in Creative Writing at Sheffield Hallam University.

These poems were all written as part of collaborative place-based projects with the artist Judith Tucker. They emerge from what could be described as fieldwork, poetry based on walking through, and engaging with, place, with Judith, and, increasingly, with people who live in and visit the areas concerned. Some research into the areas concerned has also taken place and contributed to the work. Up until this moment, they have been pieces in flux. Shorter related poems or fragments have been exhibited with drawings and paintings and many of these longer pieces have been read at openings and poetry readings. Here they can be seen as a body of work. Although the earliest of these poems was originally written in 2011 and the latest in 2019, they have been edited and re-visited throughout the whole period, and indeed the places are also re-visited. (Harriet Tarlo)

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