Nigel Kent

Nigel Kent is a Pushcart Prize nominated poet (2019) who lives in rural Worcestershire. He is an active member of the Open University Poets Society, managing its website and occasionally editing its workshop magazine.

He has been shortlisted for several national competitions and his poetry has appeared in a wide range of anthologies and magazines. Some of his work has been translated by Mariana Zavati Gardner for the literary journals, Banchetful and Pro Saeculum.

In 2019 Hedgehog Poetry Press published his first collection, ‘Saudade’, following the success of his poetry conversations with Sarah Thomson, ‘Thinking You Home’ and ‘A Hostile Environment’. His pamphlet, Psychopathogen, about life during Lockdown has just been published.

For more information visit his website: www.nigelkentpoet.wordpress.com or follow him on Twitter @kent_nj

Compulsion

I hear you calling
from the garden:
struggling to shake
free a blackbird
trapped in the net
that protects our pond,
but the filaments,
snarled around
its neck and legs;
tighten with each shake
and yank limp wings
sharply out of shape.
The only option,
scissors.
 
You watch me
snip away each bond,
clapping when the bird
flutters off unhurt,
its lesson learnt.
 
Later, our taxi waiting,
I come to fetch you
from the kitchen
and wait whilst you test
the loyalty of locks,
the fidelity of switches,
the innocence of hands;
unable to untangle you
from a mesh
of doubts and fears
that every day you try
to shut away
in ordered drawers
but can’t.
 
You must drag them
down the path,
trailing behind you
where they’re bound
to snag upon a thought
and tug you back
towards the house
for ‘One last time!’
but today, I hustle you away,
past the liberated bird,
perched upon the fence,
and wonder if I’ll ever find
the means to cut you free.

Lockdown dreams

Every night the same:
outside the store
in rain that won’t let up.
Twentieth in the queue
to purchase a slice
or two of normal
at once-in-a lifetime prices.
Feet behind the hazard line,
she waits for the lad
in the fashion mask
to ratchet the queue forward ,
one shopper at a time.
Her list isn’t long:
just a few essentials:
a brand-new routine
to replace the one
that’s  broken;
a made-to-measure job,
suitable for every season,
and something special
for her daughter,
a kitemarked, five-star future,
but at the checkout
with each item
scanned and totalled,
it always plays the same:
her card’s declined
for insufficient funds.
She has to try again
tomorrow.

After the all clear

When doctors declared him all clear
there was no dancing in the streets,
no confetti canon fired in celebration,
no bunting strung across the street.
 
Instead he retreated to his sickbed
in the blacked-out room,
unable to blink away the darkness
that made shadows of the light.
 
Though they’d armed him with statistics,
and said that he’d be fine,
he couldn’t find the strength
to make a truce with peace.
 
For hours he’d hide
behind the bathroom door
checking, checking, checking
for the enemy within
 
and at night he’d lie awake,
waiting, waiting, waiting;
surrendered to the certainty
that the attack would soon resume.
 
His body had betrayed him,
threatened him with death,
and now the sounds of sirens
wouldn’t leave his head.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.