Mary Anne Smith began writing seriously in 2011, and her work has been shortlisted and commended in both national and international competitions. She has read at events in England, Ireland and Italy, and in 2017 co-developed a poetry and music event for the Wise Words Festival in Canterbury.
In response to Ted Hughes’ poem ‘Cities’
I’m glad you took us out of the city when you did,
from all those High Roads and brake-shrieking Hackney cabs
from Routemaster rumblings, the clack clack of surface railways,
the whine of the underground, and aircraft sighing slowly over
the haze of exhaust fumes and chimney smoke, hanging above it all.
If we had stayed, where would I find my poems now –
in the narrow spaces between the tower block and the terrace,
in the ranks of identical bicycles slanted by the station, gaps in
the cafe chains, or flickers of light in all those heavy-eyed hotels?
Instead of knowing the words of birdsong, or finding lines in
the striations of petals or whispered by trees, I’d read the tags
of graffiti or pick up throwaway lines from the gutter, find some
iridescence in the oily rainbows arcing across the tarmac.
I might trawl fresh ideas from the sameness of the river,
pan for gold in light reflected under piers and bridges,
find resonance in the church bells and clock chimes, or a
rhyme in the iambic pentameter of trains crossing points.
I could trace each changing statement of the skyline and
rewrite it in a plainer text, block out the shifting silhouettes
against the polluted blue of the night sky, then by dawn be
the one light still shining, the dying candle I once held out for you.
Poem commended in the Elmet Poetry Prize, 2016;
published in competition anthology and online at Elmet Trust website
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