A story in three remembered voices

These were the voices which really seemed
to shift things. She went, in her finals year,
to a surgery, painted pre-war brown and cream,
along from the Mumbles pier. There she heard
the fat doctor, beaming below half-moon specs, 
rumble, of those philosophical demons
which had left her sick and stale, 
And these things can be very worrying,
I know. But we can deal with this.
She gloried in relief, walked later down the pier, 
saw the spray still fizz below the slats.

Two decades later, in a Midlands suburb,
a man from an amoebic management said,
I’d like a word, Selina, if I may. A rather
delicate matter. His voice was as honey dribbling,
but the mix, for years, was sour as spit. 

The voice she remembers from her escape to the Highlands 
isn’t the Provost, isn’t her lover even, it’s
the conductor on the Oban train. This is
good country for a lassie like yourself. 
The train clattered its way by shore and loch.
Whole skins of misery sloughed away.



Robert Nisbet is a Welsh poet who was shortlisted in Britain in 2017 for the Wordsworth Trust Prize and nominated in 2020 for the USA’s Pushcart Prize.