Recollecting Water by Mary Robinson



Mary Robinson grew up off-grid on an isolated smallholding in Warwickshire. Her first collection is The Art of Gardening (Flambard 2010).  She won the Mirehouse/Words by the Water Poetry Prize in 2013 and the Second Light Poetry Prize (short poem category) in 2017.  Her work includes two pamphlets, Uist Waulking Song and Out of Time, the latter to accompany a poetry/photography collaboration with Horatio Lawson, exhibited at Theatre by the Lake, Keswick in 2015. Her poems have appeared in several magazines including Poetry Review, The Yellow Nib, Stand, The North, Artemis, Envoi, The French Literary Review and Long Poem Magazine.  Her sequence of alphabet poems will be published by Mariscat Press this year.  She lives on the Llŷn Peninsula in North Wales.  Her blog is: Wild about Poetry.























Recollecting Water





White noise pours from the earth –

a liquid meteor shower.

Meadowsweet almonds the air.

I crush watercress with gritty sandalled feet,

brambles snag my ankles and I know

there will be a scabbed tear of scar next day.


I splay my hand as a sieve – splashes

darken the threads of my cotton shirt,

smear beige streaks on earth-brown legs.

I’m doused with the spring’s strength

as its rainbow arc spurts to the stream

plashy with mint and rushes.


The flow forces the jug down,

water spills up and over before I can stop,

droplets poise on the rim.

I carry it back to the house,

curl one hand round the haft’s sharpness

and finger the scallop shapes engraved on the glass.


A pool of stillness lies at the table’s centre

as clear as the Waterford chandelier

above the staircase in the sisters’ house.

A miniature spring pours from the jug’s lip –

I taste sunlight so cold it stings my teeth

and scalds my throat.


I’ve kept the jug.



Mary Robinson


First published in The Art of Gardening (Flambard Press 2010)