Poem of the week: Miriam Gamble – ‘It’

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DEAR World & Everyone In It – New Poetry in the UK (Bloodaxe, £12) is an anthology featuring some of the most exciting young British poets.

Edited by Nathan Hamilton, it provides a compelling map of what the next generation’s obsessions might be. One of the poets featured, Miriam Gamble, grew up in Belfast and lives now in Scotland. Her poem “It” appears at first to be about the whale that got lost and swam up the Thames in 2006, although there’s more going on under the surface.

It comes in error up the estuary,

bleak remnant of the hands-off hand of God;

attains to overnight celebrity;

enters the bosom of a populace agog

with good intentions – we want to make it

one of our own –

and dies of racket

within sight of the English throne

where it is posthumously crowned.

It quite literally dies of sound –

of the rumpus of humanity

congregated in large numbers.

Later, interpreters of sonic bleep

intuit peace was not what it had come for.

• You can borrow Dear World & Everyone In It – New Poetry in the UK from the Scottish Poetry Library, 5 Crichton’s Close, Edinburgh EH8 8DT. Tel: 0131-557-2876, e-mail reception@spl.org.uk or see www.spl.org.uk for details.