Filthy Little Stream by Sarah Westcott




Sarah Westcott is a freelance writer and former journalist, currently working as a poetry tutor at City Lit in London. Her first collection Slant Light, published by Pavilion Poetry, was Highly Commended in the 2017 Forward Prizes and she is working very slowly towards her next book. Her pamphlet Inklings was a Poetry Book Society choice. Her poems have appeared in magazines including Poetry Review, POEM and Magma, on beermats, billboards and the side of buses, and in anthologies including Best British Poetry. Recent awards are first prize in the London Magazine poetry prize and the Manchester Cathedral poetry prize. Sarah grew up in north Devon, on the edge of Exmoor, and lives in Kent with her family.















Filthy Little Stream



water~ ~~~~~~~~ needling   


            some reach towards majesty   

   frivolity of bubbles        chemical sickness


  long wet vocal cord opening —


smoother the lee; curling under tree roots, undermining,

       something thrown down

                                to glint its way out

               some formality in the stitch-work


turning itself over, like digestion,

                   inspecting its soft under-parts


           a sputtering flow       brickjagged

  unloved and unlocked      this segment

           rolls and pools where drains run in like sores


       dark grey dark grey as tarmac or slate

            a narrative of itself in the junking


some faith in the blackthorn

     that strays so close,

the darkling thrush gunning for song –


Sarah Westcott