Rosie Shepperd lives in London and is studying for a PhD in Creative Writing (Poetry) at Glamorgan University. Her work has appeared in magazines on both sides of the Atlantic. She was a finalist in the inaugural Manchester Poetry Prize, the Ware Poetry Prize and the Café Writer’s. She won the 2007 Writer’s Inc Bursary and won the 2009 Ted Walters/Liverpool University Prize. She was a winner in this year’s Poetry Business Competition.
“These poems have a real originality both in form and content – from sestina to surrealism, villanelle to vignette – and are erudite, well-travelled, witty and sexy.”
– Carol Ann Duffy
“The surface textures of Rosie Shepperd’s poems are so engaging, with their wit, their sensual appetite, the fluid shifts of the voice, that you could almost overlook their most distinctive quality: a steady lithe intelligence, alert to the slightest nuances, like a fish in a fast-flowing stream.”
– Philip Gross
“Rosie Shepperd’s poems unfold with the logic of a well-planned journey to an unmapped land. We take in all the sights, the sounds, the scents – the local dishes – and experience, as things play out, the twin pleasures of inevitability and surprise that are the hallmark of superb poetry – and significant travels. We read these poems to notice things we haven’t seen before, and recognise what we didn’t know we know.”
– Liane Strauss
Tomorrow will be a day beloved of your father and of you
My name is Dr Seth; we have not met but I know your sister.
I’m going to tell you what we will do now for your father.
He is comfortable, not in pain and has just finished a glass
of apple juice. When I stopped by to see him, he waved
and you know, this may be a good time for you to leave.
You’ll be all right, get something to eat, just something light.
I know your mother would much rather drive in daylight.
It’s understandable and she is lucky to have you two sisters
close by. You’ll be all right. Let’s walk. See the leaves;
they have so many colours. The birch by your father’s
room – see, see how the branches move, almost in waves
of gold and silver with lamb-tails brushing against the glass.
The sun is low now; there is just time to visit the glass-
houses which, Fr Michael says, are the real highlight
of St Simon’s, with their tomatoes, anemones and waves
of vines. You’ll be all right. We have time; the lay-sisters
will know where to find us and if he is sleeping, your father,
well, he is sleeping and we must make sure he leaves
us in peace. It will help you to be outside, to leave
that place. See the late sun. Look at the weatherglass.
Tomorrow will give us a day beloved of your father
and of you and feel, even in this precious Autumn light
that is almost too thin, there is life, in you and your sister.
It’s all right. See the night-shift in the car park, waving
to their husbands, their wives. They talk in soft waves,
they think of the evening to come, how it will leave
them. Do you know Tagore, the Indian poet? Your sister
brought a book. It’s not what you expect, no? The glass
helped your father to read. Faith is a bird, feeling the light.
It’s all right. I know, you’re shocked. A man like your father?
That is what you are thinking, is it not? My father,
reading poems about faith? Tagore is not on his wave-
length, no? Let me tell you. Tagore is a man who delights
all men. Did you know he met Einstein? They both leave
each of us with the idea that we look at life through glass.
It’s all right; chance has its way, just as you and your sister
have each other. Chance and causality move together in waves.
See the lay-sisters; they do not know where the birch leaves fall
or why the lamb-tails brush with such lightness against the glass.
‘Tomorrow will be a day beloved of your father and of you’ won the Ted Walters/Liverpool University Prize in 2009 and has been commended in the 2012 Hippocrates Poetry Competition.
Perfect and private things have imperfect and public endings
i.m. Weldon Kees
And did you choose those friends with care and intelligence and did
they rinse your socks, let out the pinkish water and find a good home
for your cat whose name, I know, is Lonesome? I’ve read that suicides
prepare themselves with excruciating care, seldom leave errands for
others and yes, I remember they remove their glasses, sometimes
watches and also shoes. They do not tend to empty savings accounts;
usually they eschew talk of starting afresh, anew or anything ridiculous.
I hope your mind has ceased to flap like a broken blind; perhaps it was
broken. Perhaps it is. It may be dawn before you sleep and the silence
of these altered rooms has thinned. I want to think you are there now,
sitting in a different porch-light, where the wind doesn’t rush and tall
angular trees are actual and take no holiday. The music will start again
inside a small responsive smile. For a while anyway, let this be enough.
from That so-easy thing (Smith/Doorstop, 2012).
Order That so-easy thing.
Sheenagh Pugh interviews Rosie here.