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Featured Poem: Candour, by Rebecca Goss

Written by Chris Routledge, 8th September 2008

This week in our Featured Poem series we welcome back Rebecca Goss, who recommended Amy Lowell's 'Carrefour' for us back in June. This time she writes about her own poem, 'Candour' which was first published in Ambit, issue 192, Spring 2008.

Rebecca writes:

Someone told me of a man they knew, who had woken his wife in the middle of the night to tell her he didn't love her anymore. At first, I was horrified at this. How humiliating for the wife, how undignified to be told such a thing, whilst sleepy and vulnerable. But then, the more I thought about it, it was him I felt sorry for. How desperate had he become to feel he had to do it then, tell her at that moment? I'm no good at writing anti-male poems either, I like writing in the male voice too much. I love adopting a man's voice, imagining his reactions, seeing if I can get away with it!




Moulding my back into the headboard,

I look down at my sleeping wife, push a finger


into her fleshy arm. I watch it sink in, like a child’s finger

lost in forbidden icing. With my whole palm, I roll her arm


like a baker’s pin, but still can’t drag her from the dark.

Shaking a shoulder makes her eyelids spark open.


She sits up quickly, unaware one breast has fallen

from her nightdress. Yawning, her sticky mouth stretches,


sour breath rises in the slim space between us

and I tell her I feel sunken, unloved.


by Rebecca Goss


Rebecca Goss has poems forthcoming in 2008 in two anthologies of contemporary poetry In the Telling (Cinnamon Press) and The Poet's Perspective (Headland Press). Her poem 'Virginity' was amongst a selection chosen by Kate Clanchy to feature in her poetry workshop for The Guardian (online). Read the poem and her comments about it here

Rebecca will be reading with the poet Paul Durcan at The Bluecoat, School Lane, Liverpool, 7.00pm, Wednesday October 15th 2008.

Read a review of her recent reading in Liverpool, see section 'July 24th'

'Candour' is published here with permission.

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Posted by Chris Routledge

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