Image by Sandi Friend

The North-South Divide

Jacob Polley


The North-South Divide

Jacob Polley


The North-South Divide

The North-South Divide

fills with flood-water;
the bows of Scotland lift clear
of the Atlantic, cod roam
the East Anglian plains; kelp
throttles Sherwood, the chimneys
of the Midlands slowly barnacle,
Cumbria tilts;
congers lie in catacombs
cold-wiring our relics,
our kings' bones;
a whale hangs a moment
singing in the vault
of St Paul's; men dive
through their Southern libraries,
where crabs unpick the calfskin
of our histories;
Stratford Under Avon
is swanless and rip-tidal,
hagfish haunt Leicester Square,
anglerfish twinkle
through Trafalgar's oyster beds.
Look from Manchester
out to sea: the South you knew
from quiz shows and road maps,
from nursery rhymes and bad news
is gathering a storm
to its heaving,
gull-broached,
heavy-breakered bosom.


from The Brink (Picador, 2003), © Jacob Polley 2003, used by permission of the author and the publisher.

Recordings

Jacob Polley Reading from his poems

1Smoke

2The Owls

3The Kingdom of Sediment

4You

5The North-South Divide

6Economics

7Man

8The Weasel

9A Jar of Honey

10Declaration

11Leaf

12October

13Night-doll

14Moving House

15The Crow

16Saturday Matinée

17Rain

18Elder

19Sally Somewhere

20Attic

21The Remedy 22Dandelions

23Salmonary

24Friday

25Decree

26A Crow's Skull 27The Distance

28The Cheapjack

29At Home

30The Prescription

31Snow

32The Byre

33Wild Hyacinths

Books & cds by Jacob Polley