Poems to share


Eventually, the nerve impulse is carried
to the apex of the heart
causing ventricles to contract,
and blood to rush
to and from this muscle the size
of your fist, an engine of flesh,

the marksman’s target for a bullet.
You said, listen to your heart
placed a stethoscope
to my jumping skin, paused.

Cleopatra compared
it to the stroke of death,
this harbouring in the heart
of an uncertain beat.

Published in Every Little Sound (Liverpool University Press 2016). Reprinted by permission of Liverpool University Press.

Ruby Robinson

Ruby Robinson grew up in Sheffield and Doncaster. She draws inspiration from writing which takes her ‘somewhere unexpected’, and lists previous Forward Prize–winners Ted Hughes and Claudia Rankine as amongst those who have left a lasting impression on her.

Robinson says that, as a child, she used to ‘write things down that angered or confused me, in lieu of being able to protest out loud’. Robinson brings that intense concentration to the otherwise drowned-out sounds of our everyday internal world.