"Tremor": a poem by Fiona Sampson

The metals of the pipes do not agree,
and iron is the sacrificial anode
is what the landlord’s plumbing expert
said when he called today.

And here come a host of small exchanges
as if from the electric world:
pulses, shimmies of antimony,
tremors under your skin at night.

Something is adjusting or,
anyway, changing. The iron
pipes and the copper are at war –
a high-pitched shiver thrills the plumbing.

The house, the whole world, is shaking.
If you’re not dead you’re doing all right.


This article first appeared in the 11 March 2013 issue of the New Statesman, The audacity of popes