Monday, 17 March 2008

Introducing the April 2008 Readers: 1. Tom Pow

To whet your appetite for the next set of readings at the Great Grog on Sunday 13th April, I thought I’d ask the readers to contribute a brief bio and a representative poem for this site. I’ll post these at semi-regular intervals over the next few weeks.

First up is Tom Pow:

Tom Pow is the author of five full collections of poetry, the most
recent of which is Dear Alice – Narratives of Madness (Salt). In 2007 he
won a Creative Scotland Award. He teaches Creative Writing and
Storytelling at Glasgow University's Crichton Campus in Dumfries.


A man, believing himself to be dead,
stopped eating. The world became a plaything

of shadows. Spectres haunted him daily.
But Death, he discovered, was thin gruel –

there was no nourishment to be found there.
In for the long haul, he took to his bed.

Dying, however, remained active long after
he’d thought it disarmed. Nothing for it

but to soldier on till the cupboard
of memory was bare. A few of his friends

disguised themselves. They whitened
their faces then shrouded themselves

in loose fitting black gowns. They entered
his room, set up a table before him

and brought to it a spread of bread, meat,
cheese, chocolate and wine. They ate and drank

then replenished the feast. He stared at them
from out of the hollows of his fading eyes.

But why they asked him did he stay in bed?
Didn’t he realise dead people eat as much

as the living ever did? They helped him
up and they ate together through the night.

As dawn broke, they rejoiced at his rebirth –
the colour that flooded his cheeks; the energy

with which he cracked a chicken wing apart.
Yet they wondered, as they rose from the table,

how he’d lit the hunger in their bellies,
that drew them back to these leftover bones.

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