Miriam Gamble

Two Poems by Miriam Gamble

Miriam Gamble

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Tarn

You see the point of putting your feet in,
even full immersing in the shallow sides;
for you, it’s about the shock
of the glacial water, that sudden slap of being alive.

You love your body and you walk round naked in it,
like a king, any chance you get;
your nude skin makes you indescribably happy.

I want the facet of a black diamond at its centre,
to hang over the mountain’s plug,
over the mouth of hell;
I want to swing like a ludicrous fly in sap.
I cannot think the edges of it matter.

But I too love your substance,
will dust it dry for you in the crystalline air.


Childhood

When I look down into it I see a child who came to grief
off the same horse seven times at the same fence
and a man shouting ‘Do it again! Leaning farther back.
Yer not leaning far enough back’ –
and the child rises, dusts herself and does it again,

leans back further, and still the ground is bought
because the man’s word on how to handle a drop fence
on this horse is wrong. She doesn’t know,
even if she did could not protest
for the man’s word on all things equine is law

and anyway buying ground is a badge of honour
round here, can’t call yourself a rider without it,
so I look down silently and don’t tell her
that the horse jumps out, that she needs to lean forwards,
and she sits tight and tackles the fence again.

Miriam Gamble


Miriam Gamble is a poet and critic from Belfast. Her first collection, The Squirrels Are Dead, was published by Bloodaxe in 2010 and won a Somerset Maugham Award in 2011; her second, Pirate Music, is forthcoming in 2014. She teaches Creative Writing at the University of Edinburgh.