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A poem by David Borrott

I think there were only three men on the course at Ty Newydd, so I don’t know how that felt for them. David Borrott consistently came up with fresh, original work, and had a deadpan delivery I particularly enjoyed. Faced with the challenge of writing a poem in which ‘lethargy’ is personified by a sea anemone he managed to mix poignancy and humour brilliantly (‘… I have so many arms to do nothing with’)

I did ask David for a biog but he’s been a bit coy, nevertheless I do know he is widely published and is a graduate of the Creative Writing MA at Manchester Metropolitan University. There is footage of him reading at Poets & Players here on YouTube.

I love this piece for its tragi-comic and slightly surreal treatment of everyday culture, all wrapped up in a lovely ironic swipe at both art criticism and that creative writing staple, the ekphrastic poem.

‘felicitous blending of figure and landscape’
by David Borrott

Two youths are fighting on the high street.
One wears a daub of blood on his white shirt,
the other’s fists are tight as apples;
a clench of excitement runs through the watching people,
their faces like a row of broken plates.
Dummies in the glass expand the crowd –
‘Next’ says the shop sign.

On the stone plinth of the town centre monument,
a woman with XXXL breasts is smoking.
She rests earthmotherly on the steps.
Smoke rises from her hand and her nostrils,
stroking the air with its grey curls.
Its filaments reach to the lowest green of a sycamore.
Her overblown curves temper the harsh lines of the war memorial.

A man is pissing down an alley.
It is night and a soft untroublesome rain persists.
Street lights reflect in the rancid puddles,
touches of orange amongst the grey and brown.
His fawn jacket is darker at the shoulders,
his half-cocked trousers are shadowy, vague.
It is almost as if he hovered there on the jet of his stream.

Published on Magma’s website as a longlisted poem in their competition.

Published inCoursesPoemsReadings

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  1. thank you, I enjoyed that. What a good poem. It is particularly enjoyable when fellow students on a course write poetry that I can appreciate and don’t feel obliged to compliment despite my mixed feelings! (was that tactful enough?)

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Robin Houghton 2024