Poem introduction

This poem I owe, as so much enlightenment and entertainment, to the greatly incomparable David Attenborough

Extremophile

Extremophile

Two miles below the light, bacteria
live without sun, thrive on sulphur
in a cave of radioactive rock,
and, blind in the night of the ocean floor,
molluscs that feed only on wood
wait for wrecks. White tubeworms heap
in snowdrifts around hydrothermal vents,
at home in scalding heat. Lichens encroach
on Antarctic valleys where no rain
ever fell. There is nowhere
life cannot take hold, nowhere so salt,
so cold, so acid, but some chancer
will be there, flourishing on bare stone,
getting by, gleaning a sparse living
from marine snow, scavenging
light from translucent quartz, as if
lack and hardship could do nothing
but quicken it, this urge
to cling on in the cracks
of the world, or as if this world
itself, so various, so not to be spared
as it is, were the impetus
never to leave it.


first published in Horizon Review, 2011, © Sheenagh Pugh 2011, used by permission of the author

Recordings

Sheenagh Pugh

Sheenagh Pugh Reading from Her Poems

1The Beautiful Lie

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2The Pause

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3Webcam Sonnet 3: Contact

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4Webcam Sonnet 4: Now

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5Wedding Night in the Snow Hotel

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6Travelling with Ashes

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7The Bereavement of the Lion-Keeper

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8Stonelight

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9Lockerbie Butter

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10What If This Road

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11Josephine

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12Golden Boy

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13Extremophile

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14Days of November 2009

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15Return

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16The Viceroy of India

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17Trondheim: January

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18The Woodcarver of Stendhal

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19The Pursuit of Happiness

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20Interviewing the Two Last Speakers

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21Regina

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22Times Like Places

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23The Movement of Bodies

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24Bioluminescent

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25The Art of Packing

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26The Opportune Moment

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Books by Sheenagh Pugh