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138 x 216mm
£6.00 + P&P UK
A Language I Understand
Amy Louise Wyatt
‘A Language I Understand’ seeks to understand the relationships that the poet (and all of us) have with our past, our memories, our loved ones and how we can make sense of this, in our own unique way.
‘A skilled and intuitive poet, Wyatt understands the tactile nature of sensory imagery. In her curation of personal artefacts, she holds each talisman, totem and relic up to the light so the reader can clearly view the significant people, places and memories that have been sewn into the fabric of these poems. Wyatt's miniature worlds pulse with a subtle, affecting power.’
Author of ‘Threading the Light’
‘In this much awaited debut pamphlet from Wyatt, the reader is gifted a world full of hedonistic delicacies – the smell of tarnished neglect, the sound of horses’ hooves on cobblestones, the sting of lemons and budgie bites. At the end, the reader can say “that is ‘A Language I Understand’”.
Author of ‘Venus in Pink Marble’
In the beginning, they bought me things
with pedals. Things to move me from my spot.
When all I wanted was a world in miniature
that was mine, that I could hold at once
in two small hands. You see, a book could
take me further than a bike; could take me
miles in seconds without fear of reprimand.
Henceforth, they bought me things with pages.
Things to move me all at once to empathetic
tears; to envy and to love; to anger and to fear.
And in this world of miniature I travelled
through the pages; held my breath on top
of man-made mountains built with words.
Perished in the loneliness of every final page.
Then, breathed myself alive with each new spine
cracked open like a new born dragon sent to
set the world in miniature within my hands afire
Connolly Station: a surge of passengers ready to forge
their southern paths. As we worked ourselves loose
from the frenzied threads on a free street map we misplaced
our bearings. Dublin had us tangled in her knot
of streets, four feet teetering on convulsing cobbled paths,
St Patrick’s snakes bore us on their patchy backs.
Youths with legs outstretched played social in
some skulking alley; hidden from the outstretched arms
of the bustling maiden and her heady throng deeply
drunk on black. Men in bags with cups and heaven-pointed
eyes, brought forth that blessed are the poor for they
will inherit the kingdom, and we are all at once consoled.
We spilled into a bar. Fell under the spell of a fiery fiddler
with a stamping foot, a sense of fun and an upturned hat
for half-cut tippers with clinking change. Met Ballymena
man, who border crossed to greener grass, shared stories
into the early hours and hankered for a northern bond.
At three a.m. we laid our heads in attic bed. We clambered
through a laddered window in the roof to find our rest.
Awoke next morning to the clip clop of horses’ hooves
on the cobblestones of a hectic day, and streamed Irish light
through the curtain crack charging our northern hearts.
My granny only tailed before she peeled
because you need the stump of leaves to hold
an orange inmate captive while you skin her.
The topping of a carrot’s always last.
You behead Daucus Carota only when
the final ribbon of her sullied skin
has slithered off.
Then dice her into dancing suns.
Upon the board she looks like agate sliced;
at times she’s sceptres; half stars.
She’ll dance again amid the broth.
The sun comes up within the pot.
Opening to the Light
I am in the garden and he is telling me
to go easy on the gin, for I can’t hold my drink.
But the sun is shining. And it has been a long time
since I have seen the flowers open themselves
to the light like they do now, and I want to take it in.
He is telling me to go easy, for in the next room
our cat is dying. My beautiful boy is dying.
But the pots are alive with bees and I can hear
the children next door laughing; the neighbour
is mowing, for the rain is to come tomorrow.
The cat could be dead tomorrow he says.
But it doesn’t make me go easy on the gin.
For I am thirty-seven and almost everything
I have loved has died. It has been a long time
since I have seen the flowers open themselves
to the light, as they do now. I want to take it in.
Amy Louise Wyatt is a poet, artist and lecturer from Bangor, Northern Ireland. Her work is widely published in Irish and international journals and anthologies. Amy was shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Award in both 2018 and 2020, and also longlisted in 2019.
She was shortlisted for The Dempsey and Windle National Poetry Day Competition 2019; a finalist in The National Funeral Services Poetry Competition in 2017; and was nominated for 2019 Best of the Net.
Amy won the inaugural Poetrygram Prize in 2019. She has performed widely at festivals throughout Ireland, on BBC Arts Extra and for local television.
Amy is currently completing the second year of her MA in Creative Writing with Open University. She is the founding editor of The Bangor Literary Journal.
‘A Language I Understand’ is her debut poetry pamphlet. https://amylouisewyatt.com/
Here, the scene from some botanical lab.
You as botanist: your kitchen window
sparks our Holocene age; makes glaciers
retreat from warmth of new sun spilt on sill.
Your busy hands propagate, prune, liberate.
Digits mossed and soiled; you birth spider
plants in Black Bush tumblers; strange test tube flowers
whose name you now forget, were smuggled home
from Portugal in ninety-three. This petri
dish prepared for last year’s Amaryllis,
is moist and ready to infuse with life.
Everything in jam jars grows. Bursts forth.
Those once clipped, now, more whole since the cut.
Oh, how I want to tread the water too.
To feel my legs like shoots spread out and stretch
my history taciturn into
a fluid womb. Then ink-bled veins touch glass
and it is time to plant. You carry me
with those you grew, on tissue. Attach us
all as brand new beings to the earth.
A Language I Understand
On the Lord’s day we ate ice cream
after we went in peace.
The Sabbath was vanilla pod and tendrils
of gold sun, spun like sugar
from the glasses stained in temples
of our God’s almighty cliché.
The pews were hard, the cone was soft.
Maybe built with brimstone;
maybe left in air too long. It’s hard to know
in a world of inside outs.
With Holy Spirit raised on tongues in a language
only he will understand;
the rest of us are vessels open to the respite
of a day that will be tinged
with guilt because we cannot rest. Maybe only God
can rest in peace,
for making milky ways and worlds and those who feel
both love and guilt,
deserves a break. Quite often now I go to pieces
on the Sabbath day.
The dam of septico about to burst; to spill my fears
into a new-born week.
Take me back to worship my vanilla God, pushed inside
the hollow of a cone;
raised in a language I understand, spoken with a cold and
As if cats are typing, weeds grow underground.
In bygone days, our baby took priority –
we stayed up late; everything was tardy.
We bestowed majesty; he threw his hands
from his crib, stole pieces of the sky.
This was our puzzle, sprawling in the nest –
causing eggs to crack; letting winged things free.
We wanted to collect each shard of shell –
reach the end of his alphabet; draw prizes
from the depth of my womb. But weeds
had grown underground, and even the love
we had stowed away, wasn’t enough.