Poem introduction

This poem was a commission. The commission was to write a very small poem - six lines - each line to be put onto a giant banner, pulled behind a small plane over the town of Salisbury.

A Smell of Fish

A Smell of Fish

A smell of fish filled the valley
and all the seagulls came inland.

Cats ran everywhere, sniffing.
Men checked the level of the sea.

Some could be heard hammering.
Churches filled to pray for wind.


'A Smell of Fish' from Selected Poems (Cape, 2002), © Matthew Sweeney, 2002, used by permission of the author and The Random House Group Ltd.

Recordings

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1Nightshow

2Astronomy

3Last Supper

4A Round House

5Imagined Arrival

6The Servant

7The Ideal Home

8A Crow's Cremation

9Ends

10Divers at the Laurentic

11A Couple Waiting

12The Shadow Home

13Pink Milk

14Her Song

15Cacti

16Hanging

17The Desert

18Banknotes

19Donkey Hoof

20The House

21Poker

22The Hat

23The Compromise

24An End

25The Butcher

26Dancer

27A Smell of Fish

28Hooves

29The Summons

30Hair

31The UFO

32In the Dust

33Insomnia

34The Sweatmark

35The Snowy Owl

36The Hunger Artist at Home

37The Snake

38Opera

39Black Moon

40In the Garden

41The Glass Chess Set

42The Blue Hammock

43Fish and Chips

Books by Matthew Sweeney