‘Evocative and charming, a modern day folk tale’, a comment on Lucy Atkinson’s ‘Sunspot’, perfectly summing up why this fine poem is the IS&T Pick of the Month for August 2020.
Lucy is a North-East born writer studying a MA in creative writing at Durham University. She has published poetry in magazines such as Acumen, Agenda and Crossways. Her play ‘As It Was’ was recently published by lazy bee scripts.
Lucy has asked that her £30 ‘prize’ be donated to Teesside Hospice.
I watched her. Persephone.
Sunflowers on her dungarees. Breathing in
the blackened syrup. London air.
She’s trying not to talk about it
but she remembers. Winter.
There’s Parsley on the windowsill. Planted
in a little mug. The only spot in her fifth-floor flat
that ever gets some sun.
She doesn’t talk about him, either.
If there was a him. She asks me
if I would sing if they put on a karaoke night
down at our local pub.
She misses Karaoke. Good music and bad.
All at once and all around.
A tsunami for the thoughts.
On the radio they play “Wild Daffodils.”
A low budget song from an album
by a local artist. We both agree
he can really sing. There are no people singing
here. Karaoke or in the streets.
But she mouths the words to
the same song that the radio played an hour ago.
Winter is gone. She’s forgotten it.
She asks what song we can dance to next.
Other comments include:
I love the modernisation of a classical myth transformed into something both beautiful and relatable.
Myth is used in an original way brought alive by visual details.
A stirring last line which brings out a relentless sense of optimism in the emergence from a period of strife. ‘Blackened syrup’ as a descriptor for london air is wonderfully cloying and seems to be in conversation with Celan’s black milk of morning, offering a sense of warmth and depth and but also stagnation in comfort which reminds one of the immobility of any kind of depressive episode.
Fantastic imagery, simple yet hugely affecting; the smallest details pack a serious emotional punch throughout her poem.
Like reading a good story. I could imagine standing by the window looking at the tiny bit of sun.
The imagery is so alive with nature and the air of London, it conjures up the place for me.
A thoughtful and beautiful piece of writing.
I loved the imagery with the plants and flowers running through it.
The positivity of dancing and singing in the future is especially poignant in the current circumstances
Imaginative writing always grabs my interest. This poem more than most stayed with me after reading.
Hits the spot. Real.
Excellent poetry, a rising star
Powerful emotions delivered exquisitely
I love the first two lines especially, and I think this poem represents this moment- when the world has had to retreat inside, and is watching the seasons change without being able to go out and resume our lives
Reminds me of times that I have felt alone and having something positive to cling to.
The pathos behind it
The form of writing has a semblance to contemporary rap music.
This takes me back to feeling warm and safe and I love the imagery in her words, it’s so powerful and peaceful at the same time
Focuses on the next and the things we enjoy. It contained a lot of beauty.
I find it very emotive and eloquent. Reading this poem I find myself taken to the place and can see it happening.