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Weeds grow where they want to; not where they're told to...

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Lesley Quayle

‘…an accomplished stylist. Her poems are dramatic and visual, shot through with bold images and surprise similes. There is at times something raw and visceral about them. She writes with flair and is blessed with a voice she can truly call her own…’

 

Linda Marshall

 

                                        *****

 

'Quayle gives the reader confidence – each poem is different in style, a style devised and entirely appropriate for its subject. The poems stand, not as autobiography, but as well-made objects in their own right. Though certainly autobiographical experience is there. A poem about her daughter leaving home is as touching as any I have read, or could imagine. Equally, a poem about someone else’s termination is as vivid and as moving as I can bear. Her imagery is always fresh and striking, whether to do with nature or cooking – “the black and silver / running stitch of trout-fry.” The title poem is as strong as anything in Hughes’ Moortown, about the physical realities of sheep farming: an old ewe’s teeth are  “yellow stubs / emerging from her worn out jaw like insect grubs.” This poet can hurt you, hit you below the belt.'

 

Nicholas Bielby  (Pennine Platform 66, Nov. 2009)

 

 

*****

1.

Only after the fleece was stripped and rolled,

could we see the jagged bonecrate of one ewe,

each rib half bolted, the knobbled spine askew,

pouched belly swinging low, the fleshless fold

of barren udder.  I prised at her reluctant mouth.

Teeth still there mainly, abraded now to grains

from years spent cropping pasture thinned by rain

and summer storms.  

                              The God of Broken Mouths

has come for her, pulls up her blue grey tongue

to see the calloused gums, the yellow stubs

emerging from her worn out jaw like insect grubs,

“She’ll be pushing up, not eating, daisies soon.”

 

Not yet.

           She joins the shearlings by the wall

But the God of Broken Mouths will have them all.

 

*****

 

To contact Lesley click here.

 

 

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