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14 July 2021

The NS Poem: Dear Tor

A new poem by Yvonne Reddick.

By Yvonne Reddick

I’ve been away a year, Tor, I’ve needed your grit, the blink of light
in the fissure at your heart. Tor, those were the months the city shuddered.

Breath was taxed. Air was weaponised. Locks clicked their steel tongues shut,
stayed mute. Goldfinches on the building site. Mushrooms infested the wood  

panels on my balcony. Moss rioted, an underfoot forest; bird’s nest
fern and hart’s tongue by the potted lettuce. Squadrons of flies.  

I need heather-honey air, Tor, I need the rainy breeze as I need water.
Give me your sedimentary, patient endurance. The wind breathing in you, 

the same view down to the valley for millennia; rain laving 
you,
moor-grass feathering your chin, bilberries springing at the corner

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of your eye. Tor, years stream from your back, you who remember
when this rainlicked upland was estuary, when the Edges
sailed at the equator and land was wave. Tor, give us time.

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Yvonne Reddick holds a Leadership Fellowship from the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Her books include “Ted Hughes: Environmentalist and Ecopoet” (Palgrave Macmillan).

[See also: The NS poem: Flowering currants]

This article appears in the 14 Jul 2021 issue of the New Statesman, Apple vs Facebook