Bleak Row by Laura Potts



Laura Potts is twenty-two years old and lives in West Yorkshire. Twice-recipient of the Foyle Young Poets Award, her work has been published by Acumen, Aesthetica and The Poetry Business. Having worked at The Dylan Thomas Birthplace in Swansea, Laura was last year listed in The Oxford Brookes International Poetry Prize and nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She also became one of the BBC’s New Voices for 2017. Laura’s first BBC radio drama aired at Christmas, and she received a commendation from The Poetry Society in 2018.













Bleak Row






After the first, my star still north and rising,

they patched his purse of blood-burst skin,

my sleeping bud and starless. I remember him:

in all that dusk and darkness, my bygone boy

would never begin with spring-eternal grin

and years. In infant rain I brought him here.


Near to the starshook brooks, to the water’s call,

to the hill worn warm by the greening flocks

and the fox which chases night from the hills.

Remember, still, how I holy held and fell

like a last-prayer priest to my knees? These

in the sleeping snow, these in the damply death-


throe glow of Madonna’s weeping eye: these

are the lives in the seeds which cry to the gaping

mouth of night. Yes. These are all mine. I

and my yesterday’s children who never came by

and stamped their sparks on the pavement bright.

Theirs was the sleep when my eye-fire died,


when horizons never would rise in their stride

and my homehope lost in the land and gone.

Through gasping fog and winter on, I do not let

the sterile beds that hold their heads begin

to bow and hunchback-bend when village boys

and friends and all the wheeling, laughing ends


of summer spring that sleeping wall. Tonight,

cruciform, I lay another quiet life I never knew at all.


Laura Potts