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.
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
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,
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