Poetry Shelf Poem: ‘Listening In’ by Lynley Edmeades

As the Verb Tenses.jpg



Listening In


The mere presence of her was the necessary part.

Over-hearers, their little coves of ears

were, of course, listening in.

Together, we could hear history

painting a diagram of itself, and things began

to form layers. My mother’s hand

upon the pillow, the pillow soft upon the bed.


©Lynley Edmeades from  As the Verb Tenses Otago University Press 2016



This mother poem is a perfect advertisement for a collection that shows how real life can give poetry a vital tang; that poems excised from who you, where you and where you are from sometimes lack the power to kick start your heart from daily routine. The gaps are resplendent. The detail: lyrical, tender, uplifting, deliciously layered.

Everything slows down to a leisurely pace.

Elsewhere in the book: ‘You’re wondering what to do with this, this slowness.’

Absorb and connect. Absorb and connect. This is a terrific debut (oh! and a stand-out cover).




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