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Abegail Morley’s How to Pour Madness into a Teacup

Abegail Morley

Abegail Morley is a Kent-based poet. She has an MA from Sussex University and a postgraduate diploma in publishing from Exeter Art College. After working in publishing she’s now a librarian/archivist, guest Poetry Editor at The New Writer and a member of the Kent and Sussex Poetry Society.
Her collection How to Pour Madness into a Teacup (Cinnamon Press, 2009) is shortlisted for the Forward Prize Best First Collection (2010); the title poem was previously nominated for the Forward Prize Best Single Poem.
Her work appears in several anthologies and a wide range of magazines including: Anon, Assent, the Financial Times, The Interpreter’s House, Iota, Other Poetry and The Spectator.

“It has fallen to Abegail Morley to draw aside the veil suspended between the world we know and the unholy of unholies that lies beyond. We are shown the painted veil of everyday life, only to have it slashed with a knife before our eyes, allowing us to glimpse the horror that lies within, sometimes frightening but always lit with a strange visionary beauty. Morley’s poems are daredevil ambassadors to a savage place.”
– Hugo Williams
“These poems are moving, sensitively written, compelling and well worth a read.”
– Sophie Hannah
“It is rare to find a collection that is so hypnotically filled with trapped desire. It is like being inside the head of Munch’s The Scream. It is like nothing else around: the poetry of rejection. That’s what marks it out and makes it so special… This is a brilliantly uncomfortable sequence and you won’t get it out of your head – no matter how hard you wash.”
– Bill Greenwell
How to Pour Madness into a Teacup
She hangs her tears at the front of the house
cuts the rain in half and puts time
in the hot black kettle. She sits in the kitchen
reading the teacup full of small dark tears;
it’s foretold the man in the wood
hovers in the dark rain above the winding path.
The man is talking to her in moons,
she is laughing to hide her tears
and with little time, she secretly
plants the moons in the dark brown bed.
She shivers, thinks the man is watching
as the jokes of the child dance
on the roof of the house. Tidying,
she carefully puts hot rain in the teacup,
sings as she hangs her tears on a string
and watching the dance, thinks herself mad.
Previously published in Orbis #142 (Winter 2007)
and The Spectator (November 2008).
She dances through
the middle of days,
blends memories with oil of lavender, keeps
conversations in scrapbooks.
She papers the walls with anecdotes,
pinches her lips to hoard her thoughts,
and when asked for her opinions
plucks on her mouth like a harpist
playing on gut strings.
She packs her past in a red suitcase,
out of style, gaudy:
“Look at me,” it shouts,
a merchant of insanity.
It circles the terminus
round and round on the conveyor belt
like some terminal illness
waiting to begin.
She didn’t move fast enough,
lost herself to its motion
and the inconsolable past,
unresolved, moves on too.
from How to Pour Madness into a Teacup (Cinnamon Press, 2009).
Order How to Pour Madness into a Teacup.
Visit Abegail’s website.
Read more of Abegail’s poems at poetry p f.
Visit the Kent and Sussex Poetry Society’s website.