Home > New Classics > Apophthegm


June 28, 2010

by Henrietta Cullinan

From the yellow sky in summer afterglow behind
the blackened ash twigs, scratching
my low-pitched roof

to the lightship moored by Trinity Buoy Wharf
in a force five backing six

I look for a Sinai desert,
that’s got our mothers and our fathers,
Theodore, Poemen, Ischyrion, each plaiting reeds
outside his hut:

Gerontion, give me a word,

a must-have word for me who lives where
the ground is hardcore, hand-shell tarmac,
fireweed and mallow breaking through,

a word that winds the slow great greasy
around the daily presses and merchant banks,

that swings a pick-axe three meters deep
into the gravel, turns clinker and broken pots,
washes blue cyanide from contaminated land.

Download the podcast

Henrietta Cullinan was born in London. She lives in East London and teaches Literacy and Creative Writing at Hackney Community College, working with adults and young people. She is a musician, wife and mother. She has had poems published in the Rialto, Iota, Aesthetica, Obsessed with Pipework, Pulsar and Trespass magazines amongst others.

Categories: New Classics Tags:
%d bloggers like this: