Featured Poem: Hen Felin, by Grevel Lindop

Helen Tookey, whose poem ‘At Burscough, Lancashire’ from her book Telling the Fractures we featured a few weeks ago, writes to recommend ‘Hen Felin’ by poet Grevel Lindop, from the collection Playing With Fire (Carcanet Press, 2006) Helen has written a substantial and fascinating exploration of the poem which we’ll publish tomorrow:


Hen Felin


There is a white house sunk in the long grass

and a spring rises, no one knows from where


and there is nothing, nothing and again nothing.

The nothings talk together in the house.


The beach breathes when the tide hisses along it,

each pebble bald as a moon; and the moon rises,


and the rocks melt and wrinkle the bright sea.

Part of me has been living here for years


among the nothings and the silences

which are not nothing and are never silent.


And stranded under the long grass and the weeds

a wooden boat, her timbers sprung by time


the white wood mildewed, SWALLOW on the bow:

a white moon drowning in a green sea.


The knitwork tapestry of furballed goosegrass,

pink spikes of willowherb have run her through


but still the unstaunched spring whispers and sings

and will not let her rest and turn to earth


but long past hope still sets the empty heart

echoing to the perpetual music of water.

‘Hen Felin’, from the collection Playing With Fire by Grevel Lindop is published here with permission from Carcanet Press.

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