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.
Lady of the Garden
It is the first snow of the year.
In the falling cloak of a coal-cold night and the light
which breathes its last, here with the blood-bright
eyes of stars through dockland fog and foreland far,
our sleeping town remembers you. Ah, spark
and girl of lavender, back-lit in the bygone spring
forever green-of-grape and gone, the wind is bringing
winter on and swings a mist of you towards the gallows
where I am: long the light in which you stand, and oh
the always-infant eyes that sang when shorebirds banked
the garden leaving for another land. And in the blackcurrant
dusk of a fireside lamp is Mam and we, a decade apart, sat
one to each knee. There are more years between us than that.
See, with the fist of the wind came he in a burst of night,
that darkest branch of our ancestry, rising by the candlelight
with looming beaches in his eyes: Death in fighter’s finery,
his fatherlight dimmed dull. That bloat upon his skull, berry-
burst and bullet-full, forever thunder-shook the blood
and up-and-swung away the sleeping bud of you, and crooked
the cradle where you stood. Then, oh, the last and lost of love:
he stopped your choral-church of throat. And that was that.
Dawn cracked. Last, a man in a big black hat took you off.
But I still see you, years away, staring past the snowdrops.