Poetry  |  Gleam  |  Tigers at Awhitu  |  Contemporary British and Irish Poetry  | Tigers at Awhitu Carcanet Press    

GLEAM (2013)

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These poems uncover in a catch of breath and heart what it means to hold on - and let go.
Janet Charman



Spare, poised and beautiful, the poems in Gleam have the grace and lightness of some of its own favourite images – of drifting feathers or the delicate cartilages of birds in flight.

In her second collection of poetry, Sarah Broom brings us not just to the deepest questions of existence but to an experience of mortality itself. The poems catalogue the restorative handholds offered by the sea, the beach, the forest – even as fires burn there, birds die, fish are gutted, poems fail – but also note the small human resonances of the everyday: blocked drains and healing porridge, iceblock wrappers and unopened mail.

Gleam is a striking exploration of what is worth examining; who may be held on to; what is worth saving.




if I cry like a bird,
listen for the pain
inside the pleasure,
if I shout out your name,
look for the dust
on the contours of my breath,
if I call you my lover,
turn your face away
and feel the air supple on your skin,
the sun lingering
on the back of your neck,
if I say I will live
for a thousand years,
dig your feet in deep
and stand your ground,
if I move over you
like the gentlest of weathers,
look out to the water
and offer yourself
to the gods of the outgoing
and incoming tides,

and if, after all,
when the world
starts to stray from me,
like a grazing animal,
nonchalant, diverted,
frayed rope trailing,

if you are still here
and still listening,

then, if you can

sing to me