The light’s just right. If you come outside
I’ll take your portraits. I don’t know why
but I didn’t think it strange when you added
It might be your last chance for a while.
So we stood against the whitewashed stone
of our loch-side cottage, and trusted your eye,
that you’d tell us to move an inch to the left
if the catchlights weren’t perfect, to relax
our shoulders, tilt, turn back to the lens,
to you, shooting us, knowing how we looked
so awful, so tired, so stiff against the wall.
And it will be fine. I’ll peel the north wind
and the breakers on the coast, I’ll roar down the turnpike
and howl through spinneys, I’ll tear through the gorse
and blackthorn, I won’t be daunted by scratches
and rips, my arms might be ragged, shins all blood,
I will still speed to you, I’ll push aside boulders,
no Hell will hold me. Head down, boar-like
I’ll take out fences, outhouses, warehouses
and ships at the boatyard. It will be fine,
it will, it will, and if not then I will anyway
be with you in the lull to fight the black breath of it
with every knife I own, each spear. No Hell
will stop me. I’ll wrap you in the armour of my bones.
LINDSEY HOLLAND‘s collection Particle Soup is available from The Knives Forks and Spoons Press. She’s the founder of North West Poets and she was Poet in Residence at Chester Zoo in 2014. She co-edited the anthology Sculpted: Poetry of the North West and edited Not on Our Green Belt. She teaches poetry at Edge Hill University where she’s also a PhD candidate.