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Poem by Allison McVety

Eyewear is very pleased to welcome poet Allison McVety (Pictured) to these pages, today - 08.08.08. - auspiciously the start of the Beijing Olympics, and, sadly, war between Russia and Georgia.

Her poems have appeared in the Times and the Forward Book of Poetry and have been broadcast on BBC Radio 3. In 2007 she completed an MA at Royal Holloway, University of London with Andrew Motion and Jo Shapcott as her tutors and where she was awarded the PFD Poetry Prize.

McVety won the Poetry Business Book and Pamphlet Competition in 2006 and her first collection, The Night Trotsky Came to Stay was published by Smith/Doorstop. This debut collection was recently shortlisted for the Forward Best First Collection Prize 2008. The poem below is reprinted from this collection.

She works in IT and teaches at the University of Reading.
Eyewear wishes her all the best for the forthcoming Forward.


Boy on the Bus

That school gabardine of mine
with its slip-in, slip-out lining,
quilted for winter use,
invisible brown on a bus of standard-issue.
Box-pleats and woollen tights knock knees
with overalls and Crimplene frocks.
In amongst the chiffon,
a crêpe-de-chine square on a shampoo and set.
One man in cavalry-twill, umbrella
tapping a tune on the soles of his brogues. And you
in army & navy surplus, air force blue,
collar raised and cocked, a knapsack
hanging from your shoulder
with the casual cool of William Hulme.
I never learned your name or saw you,
beyond your walk to an empty seat,
was never brave enough to look behind
or smile, but I felt you all the same.
Seventeen stops of feeling you.
Boy on the bus, I don’t remember what happened
to my gabardine with its slip-in, slip-out lining,
its detachable hood, but I’ve seen your coat often
at fêtes, in second-hand shops, and once
in the cloakroom of the festival hall.
Each time, I’ve checked the label for your name,
the pockets for mine.


poem by Allison McVety; reprinted with permission of the author from The Night Trotsky Came To Stay.
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