Poetry: Light by Rachel Bower

Rachel Bower’s “Light” takes residence in the calm back of the throat between breaths. From her choices around line break and caesura, to the unforgettable image of the “dawn-woman”—who of us is without a dawn-woman inside?—Bower crafts a poem for the pause we all need.



I was searching for that pause+++++++at the end++++of the++out-breath
+++++when I saw the woman++++++++++++from the tent next door

+++++sitting on a camp-chair at dawn++++++drawing deeply on a cigarette.
She was inhaling++++the last of the night

+++++feet on cool sand++++++++a moment+++++++of rest.
Four kids+++still+++++++slept in dark nests

+++++deceptively quiet++++++++unaware
++++++++++++++++of this dawn-woman+++++++++in their mother.

I was careful not to catch her eye++++and looked silently up
+++++at the surprise crescent moon+++++++and linen sky.

We knew+++++++++++++++that all around us
+++++sprites were stretching++++++in lilies

+++++butterflies unrolling new wings++++++++++water people
spooling indigo wool+++++++and unravelling pale silk.

I observed all this+++++++++our ghosts
+++++of lime-flower air+++++++++and cotton tread

+++++before the birth++++++++++of the day
++++++++++and the gentle return++++++++++++of the in-breath.



Rachel Bower

Rachel Bower is a poet and Research Fellow at the University of Leeds. Rachel co-edited the anthology, Moon Milk, with Helen Mort (Valley Press, Nov 2017) and her book, Epistolarity and World Literature, 1980-2010 was published by Palgrave Macmillan in October 2017. Her inaugural pamphlet, Moon Milk, will be published by Valley Press in May 2018 and she is currently working on her second monograph, Transnational Collaboration: Poets of Leeds and Nigeria Unite, 1950-1970Rachel’s poems have been published by Stand Magazine, BBC Radio, Frontier Poetry, Now Then Magazine, Valley Press, Three Drops Press, The Stare’s Nest, Pankhearst and others. She has a PhD in English from the University of Cambridge, reviews regularly for journals and magazines including Stand and Wasafiri and performs her poetry widely. Rachel is also the founder of Verse Matters, a feminist arts collective in Sheffield. https://rachelbowerwrites.wordpress.com // @rachelebower

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