3. Introducing the October 2010 Readers – James Sheard

Jim Sheard was born in Cyprus in 1962 and spent his childhood abroad, mainly in Singapore and Germany. As an adult, he spent time working in Hamburg and Helsinki. His collection ‘Scattering Eva’ (Cape, 2005) was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection 2005 and the Glenn Dimplex New Writers’ Award 2006 in the poetry category. His new collection – Dammtor – is out now (Cape, 2010), and is a Poetry Book Society Recommendation for Autumn.


It’s May,
you thought,
and after rain.
White hawthorn
had taken the tracksides,
and no matter where we dig,
you thought,
we find a tilted land
on a tipped earth.

It’s soft,
you thought,
the long grey scar
of vanished rails.
Something in your pack
sounded like hoofbeats.
Poor luggage lay piled
on the gravel. You thought

of how Dammtor
was a station for midnights,
hitched up on stone legs,
hollow with sunken light,
with the swallowed plosives
of church-space. You thought

of places to be broke in,
too late to go home from.
Places to watch
a welder in the high girders.
His flaring iris hissing shut.
Yours stuck open.

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