“SO BIRD TONGUES WAG”: POETRY FROM VICKI HUSBAND’S NEW COLLECTION, ‘THIS FAR BACK EVERYTHING SHIMMERS’

VICKI HUSBAND’S first degree was in Fine Art before she trained as an Occupational Therapist; she now works for the NHS. In 2010 she gained a Masters degree in Creative Writing from the University of Glasgow. Vicki’s poems have been included in an anthology of new Scottish poetry Be The First To Like This, and have won prizes in the Mslexia poetry competition, the Edwin Morgan International poetry prize and The Pighog / Poetry School pamphlet prize. In 2015 Vicki took part in a project run by Highlight Arts collaborating with poets from Pakistan. This culminated in A Change in the Light, published by Sang-e-Meel press and launched at the Lahore Literature Festival 2016. This Far Back Everything Shimmers, Vicki’s first collection of poetry, is published by Vagabond Voices.


 

Bird tongues

in a wood panelled back room drawersTHIS FAR BACK front draft 1-2
are lined with bird skins: a neat flock
filed in rows of holotype, wings folded
flat, feet tied with string, labelled, eyes
stitched shut. But two beaks left ajar

so bird tongues wag

tell tales of blossom that smelt like
rotten meat, insects that fought back
or weighed them down dangerously
low, winds seeded with gunshot, birds
disappearing into flower heads

swallowed whole like a song

 

 

A long held view

At the last moment it
hesitates/ or rather
we do/ to brace
a small part of ourselves
which still believes in
certainty/ suspend
a long held view of skylines
that dates back to
the longevity of hills/
anticipating foundations
being rocked we rush
to shock-absorb the soul/
and when the razing starts
it’s thankfully slow/ as if
to let us down gently/ first
air warm as eggs casts
its heat/ rooms release
their light/ the shell creaks
a little before sky rivers
in/ a cloud of dust mush-
rooms up like proving
dough/ concrete gives
a grunt then the whole
falters/ apologetic almost
before sauntering apart/
pictures of pop stars &
dogs & green ladies jump
their frames/ calendars slip
from pins loosing a hive
of empty boxes/ ceiling roses
impress into laminate boards
weighted by twenty floors flat-
packing themselves walls de-
fenestrating doors slammed thin
and a rain of nails prised free
from soft beds makes sweet
timpani with concrete slabs
and all the iron knitting unravels
like storeys like storeys like stories

 

 

Desire paths
Ad astra per aspera

As town planners will tell you the way  the heart takes you won’t be on road
won’t be on pavement or well lit or even  signposted. More likely for it to wear
a shy track, flattening stems of spring grass  to a darker, muddied green, clipping
a corner of a verge, jay-walking across places  that don’t have a name: nettled ground
moating a nail house shuttered by day, a gap  through fly-tipped debris, balding weeds
that hold up a wall shark-finned with glass then  under a strip of trees no-one bothers
to own. Eventually all ways converge on the edge  of town, where land stretches
to wide horizon, where every desire path reaches  for its vanishing point
before heading off to shortcut a rumoured route  between the stars.

 


NB. ‘Bird Tongues’ was originally published in Northwords Now, Issue 27, 2014.


 

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