Adam Horovitz Poetry


Poems from Turning, the new collection from Adam Horovitz.


Last Night She Saw Badgers


He stands at the school gate

trembling like a hunchbacked tree

at winter’s rise.


The air is glue. I wade to him, each step

taking all of my twelve years.

He is grey as the rope we found in Orkney,


coiled and faded on the cliffs of Ronaldsay,

worn out with hoping for the rescue

that would never come.


The car is waiting.

We must go to London now, he says.

Death waits in the car, unspeaking.


I too am silent. The blood rushing

in my ears like howling trees

is noise enough for me.


I do not track the journey.

It is over in moments.

I am bending time to reach my mother


in her sad bed in the stale ward

where my two plastic Star Wars toys

stand against the coming dark.


Too long I have waited in the deathly quiet

of the Vicar’s house, unspeaking, ungrateful,

mapping out how I will run away to London.


Too long without news and contact,

the dreams I’d shared with her as a child

rising again like tides too urgent


for the moon to pull them back.

Last night she saw badgers, he tells me

as we walk into the hospital.  


I remember walking with her to see a badger’s sett

on the other side of the valley, the orderly piles of dung,

the cowslips, the dusk.


Last night she saw badgers at the end of her bed.

 A House Built From Cloth

I grew up in a house built from cloth

played in the ruins of cottage industry

old stones like teazle teeth

chewing at my feet


fragments of industry

their lime-wash white

faded to a smoker’s gold.


I grew up in a valley

stretched over stone like cloth

rolled footballs and roller-skates

over sheep-felted grass


built locks

in the stream

under the old trade road.


I grew up in a landscape

where hedges and dry stone walls

ran through the fields like seams

where the past


was a runic language

stitched, dyed and woven

into oracular hills.


Time settles like ordered cloth

in these valleys

catches itself red handed

as it is folded back.


I grew up watching the past

pulling the weight of the future

along the canal’s linear thread.

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15 August 2011