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THE MELITA HUME SHORTLIST 2014: TOM WEIR (10 OF 11)


Tom Weir (pictured) was born in 1980 and grew up in a small village outside Cambridge. He has a 1st class degree in Creative Arts from Bath Spa University, and a Master's degree in Creative Writing from the same university.

He won this year's Templar IOTA Shots competition and his work has appeared in various magazines, including Stand, Staple and The Frogmore Papers. He was also one of the poets featured in the 2012 anthology Lung Jazz, Young British Poets for Oxfam. His first pamphlet, The Outsider, is due out this month (May).


The Outsider

As I climb onto the gate my foot slips on the wet steel.
I cling on with my arms, my body, and vault over;
the wet ground moves beneath my feet as I land.
It’s not raining but the air’s damp, moisture clings

to it like condensation to glass. There’s a sheep caught
on a barbed wire fence at the edge of the field,
but by the time I get to it the knotted steel blades
have snagged its coat like fish-hooks. You’re already beside it,

trying to spook it back onto the path but you can’t,
you just drive it further back. I try to help you but its coat
is thick and wound so tight I cannot get a good grip.
It’s frightened; I can feel its muscles quivering

somewhere beneath all the wool. You move me out the way
and try to yank it free. The sound of the sheep’s wool
tearing is like cloth. It cries as if you’ve torn its skin
then bolts, suddenly, like a greyhound released from its trap.

I go after it, try to guide it back into the field but it’s too quick,
finds its own way, leaves clouds of its frantic breath
turning on the air; wisps of its torn coat,
still covered in mud and shit, stringing from the steel fence.
 
 
poem COPYRIGHT THE POET 2014
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