Literary Yard

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‘Fret’ and other poems by Elinor Clark

By: Elinor Clark


A strange misfitted longing I neatly fold away
pairing memories as socks before
I place them, tidy, in the drawer.

You fret too much, you always said
like the sea
soggy brume cleaving blue.
Think too hard and of course
things look wrong.
A river can fret too, chaffing
the bed, smearing sheets on
creaky springs.
But I’m no river,
dry and weak
and certainly no sea
an ornamental pattern perhaps
lines chasing lines to
red ceramic


far too easy.



The countryside tugs me home,
distance blotting out the spangled
cityscape I’d learnt to love.
The fields seem naked now
in a way they never had before
I’d seen how buildings push
themselves as jagged teeth
erupting through dug mud.
Harried hands, swinging claws
cultivating glass and metal.
But there is no harvest
just further tillage,
endless expansion
breeding more
and more.


The lump which just appeared

It took her by surprise,
the lump on her hand.
She twisted her head,
held it up to the light,
Googled things to see
if she could find a photo
that would match.
Nothing did.
It wasn’t red,
had no sore spot,
didn’t hurt when she prodded it
or bent her fingers.
It was just there,
where it hadn’t been before,
a small hillock
at the end of her hand.
Soon enough she forgot
about it, feeling only mild
surprise when she caught
a glimpse looking down
for some mundane task
pulling on a jumper
or filling up the kettle.
Then, one day, it had gone.
She wasn’t sure she could
remember when it had
happened, when that lump
which hadn’t been there
and then was there,
suddenly was no longer.



The sound of that alarm and my feet as I ran
legs propelled
tunnel vision towards the door.
I’d like to say I rushed to help but I didn’t,
would like to think I pushed him in front
but that would not be true. I didn’t
even look back.  


The wrong name

I didn’t recognise the man as he was young
and I’d thought from the name that he was old,
bald or balding at the very least, wore beige shirts
and scruffy pants, a little eccentric with a
mothball smell.

Instead he was well-groomed and young with
blinding teeth which winked me into silence.

He shook my hand pronouncing again that name
which hung mismatched, something disconcerting
in the way five letters could portray a picture entirely
different, full-life images blooming at so little.

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