GLEN WILSON / AN EXPERIENCE ON THE TONGUE
There are moments here of epiphany and rites of passage where the poet becomes a portal through which events scurry. Wilson finds something enduring in the transitory, picks out signals that often go unheard.
— Mel McMahon
2019 / 88 pages / €12
Cover art: Ant_art / Shutterstock.com
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An Experience on the Tongue
by Glen Wilson
GLEN WILSON, from Portadown, Co Armagh, is the winner of the 2017 Seamus Heaney Award for New Writing. He has also won the Poetry Space competition, the Jonathan Swift Creative Writing Award and was shortlisted and placed for the Wasafiri New Writing Prize, Bailieborough Poetry Prize, Padraic Colum Poetry Competition, Hungry Hill Poetry Meet Politics and The Red Line Book Festival. His work has been published in various magazines internationally including The Honest Ulsterman, The Stony Thursday Book, Foliate Oak, Iota, The Interpreter’s House, Southword, The Ogham Stone, The Luxembourg Review and the Incubator Journal. His Poem ‘Angelshare’ appeared on the inaugural Poetry Jukebox at the Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast and he was commissioned to write a poem for the Irish Football Association that was broadcast on Sky and viewed over 40,000 times online.
A Line of Hawthorns
(i) Peter John, Autumn 1998, New Forge College
I break the spine and each page is a turning
over of soil, new descriptions and terms
for movements of a second nature, relearning
ridge and furrow in black and white.
I measure pH balances, soil composition,
then picture sods of grass that the tractor spins up
from my father’s lower fallow field. I know
which earth crumbles, which holds its shape.
I see my father getting down from the tractor cab,
his eye his plumb line as he charts the angle,
adjusts the tread as if to say, We’ll start here.
Years have refined and exaggerated the process.
But the action is still the ploughshare following
Opening the Gates
A rag of white hung on the rails,
a small fleck of blood at the corner
where the t-shirt had ripped.
What drew them to the park at night?
I drag my litter picker
and bag of refuse sacks inside.
They have set one of the bins
on fire, another is sprayed
Freedom in dark green.
One of the tundra swans calls,
whoo-whoo, three dappled chicks
waddle under her wings.
I almost don’t see him, the cob,
as the tall reeds sway, as if
they could claim him.
His neck lies a half-heart
in brown leaves, crisp packets
and a crushed Harp can.