Liz Berry

posted in: 2019, Participants | 0
Photo credit: Lee Allen

Liz Berry’s first book of poems, Black Country (Chatto 2014), described as a ‘sooty, soaring hymn to her native West Midlands’ (Guardian) was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, received a Somerset Maugham Award and won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Award and Forward Prize for Best First Collection 2014. Her pamphlet The Republic of Motherhood (Chatto, 2018) was a Poetry Book Society Pamphlet choice and the title poem won the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem 2018.



Horse Heart

It’s a stable in here.

The sodden hay of broken waters,

each of us private and lowing in our stalls

while all night, from the monitors,

the sound of babies’ hearts like hooves

stumbling     stamping

through our bodies

into the high wet grass of their lives.

How reckless they are –

lost now    then again

in snowy fields of static.

Too fast and they’re gone, too slow

and they might never reach us at all

but fall, heads crowned by vetch

and dandelion, noses cold

to the belly of earth.

Oh these horse nights,

darkless nights, the endless running

of the herd, fear a hoof

upon my chest.

I lie in my sweats and beckon you up.

Little horse heart, foal,

let my love be your paddock, your bridle,

our trough.

Liz Berry, from The Republic of Motherhood (Chatto, 2018)

From The Republic of Motherhood by Liz Berry published by Chatto & Windus. Reproduced by permission of The Random House Group Ltd. © 2018