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Featured Poem: From SIXTY, by William Gilson

Written by Chris Routledge, 6th October 2008

Poet William Gilson introduces his poem Sixty.

I'm an American living permanently in England. My wife Alison is English. Our home is in Kendal in Cumbria. This excerpt is from a book-length poem written over a period of about two years during which our youngest son, Joe, was born, our oldest son, Tom, turned five, and I turned sixty.

William will be reading his work at the Kendal Brewery Arts Centre (with poet Sue Vickerman) on Friday 7 November.


from SIXTY by William Gilson


Tom is these days fascinated by gravity.

“Is it on the fence, Dad?”

“Is it pulling the house down, Dad?”

It’s pulling me down, Tom.
My feet shuffle
My back curves
I stoop.
It pulls the blood from the brain,
I can’t remember things.

I do situps, pushups,
I bought a pair of jogging shoes,
my choresterol is too high,
I’m terrified of a stroke,
I’m afraid of gravity.

But the beauty of it,
how it shelves the shaling rock,
how it slopes the talus,
how the trees appear as if resting,
having fallen,
as if softly embracing,
pulled into one another’s moss
and disintegrating bark.

Tom points out to me that gravity bends
the jonquils,
how the longer stems curve over, almost
touch the ground.


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Posted by Chris Routledge

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