Wild strawberries

Wild strawberries

What I get I bring home to you:
a dark handful, sweet-edged,
dissolving in one mouthful.

I bother to bring them for you
though they're so quickly over,
pulpless, sliding to juice

a grainy rub on the tongue
and the taste's gone. If you remember
we were in the woods at wild strawberry time

and I was making a basket of dockleaves
to hold what you'd picked,
but the cold leaves unplaited themselves

and slid apart, and again unplaited themselves
until I gave up and ate wild strawberries
out of your hands for sweetness.

I lipped at your palm -
the little salt edge there,
the tang of money you'd handled.

As we stayed in the wood, hidden,
we heard the sound system below us
calling the winners at Chepstow,
faint as the breeze turned.

The sun came out on us, the shade blotches
went hazel: we heard names
bubble like stock-doves over the woods

as jockeys in stained silks gentled
those sweat-dark, shuddering horses
down to the walk.


from Out of the Blue, New & Selected Poems (Bloodaxe Books, 2001), © Helen Dunmore 2001, used by permission of the author and the publisher

Recordings

Helen Dunmore

Helen Dunmore Reading from her poems

1I owned a woman once

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2Glad of these times

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3City lilacs

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4Wild strawberries

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5Extract from translation of Piers Plowman

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6Bristol Docks

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7Jacob's drum

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8Those shady girls

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9A cow here in the June meadow

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10In the Desert Knowing Nothing

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11Poem on the Obliteration of 100,000 Iraqi Soldiers

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12Dolphins whistling

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13The grey lilo

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14Patrick I

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15Mr Lear's ring

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16The butcher's daughter

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17That violet-haired lady

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18To Virgil

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19Litany

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20The sea skater

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21Three Ways of Recovering a Body

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22The surgeon husband

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23The Silent Man in Waterstone's

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24Need

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25Heimat

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26Violets

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27The Deciphering

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28May voyage

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Books by Helen Dunmore