Clair Chilvers

Portrait of Professor Clair Chilvers, Chair of the Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Photographed on 22.03.2013.

Clair Chilvers was a cancer scientist, and latterly worked for the UK National Health Service.

She divides her time between writing and running a mental health research charity.

She lives in Gloucestershire, UK and has had poems published in print and online journals including Apex, Agenda,

Allegro, Amaryllis, Atrium, Artemis, Impspired, Ink Sweat and Tears and Sarasvati. She won second prize in the
Poetry Kit Ekphrastic competition 2020 and was longlisted for the Cinnamon Press Pamphlet Prize 2020.

What is it meant to be dear?

 Said my mother in front of the Mondrian
 at the gallery in Paris
 or when I showed her the Gormley -
 just two black circles on a white ground.
 Two black circles on a white ground
 or two lines on a white page,
 what do you make of them, reader?
 The words are mine, held close, honed
 to the bone, no superfluity of word
 or punctuation. Imperfect, yes, 
 but striving for some expression, 
 essence, feeling
 that must be communicated, 
 that deserves to transcend the ephemerality
 of speech.  

Sally Morgan [1]

 (The first Aboriginal printmaker)
 I found her in a gallery in Paddington
 (not the one in London but in Sydney).
 I hadn’t expected her.
 The gallery full of light
 light created by her art
 some like dreamings, but the one I bought
 was a little girl kneeling by a pool
 water streams through her fingers
 the sun fierce and red in the harsh blue sky.        
 Two ducks watch her, curious,
 while families were displaced from their land,         
 some taken as slaves on the farms
 children placed in orphanages, 
 the stolen generation ignorant of their roots
 but deep in their psyches a core 
 that revolted against their dog tags. 

[1] Sally Morgan was awarded 2nd prize in the Poetry Kit Ekphrastic Poetry Competition 2020.

First poem

 My first champagne cocktail 
 at a beach bar,
 shoulders sunburn-painful,
 a poster – crude images of a bullfight
 a cheap ticket for the sunny side
 a hot wooden bench, 
 the mayor in his box
 just in time for the parade 
 the suits of lights catching the evening sun.
 I wrote a poem – 
 how my pleated dress was ruined by heat-sweat
 how people round me shoved and cheered
 the picadors’ cruel thrusts
 the inevitable death.
 The poem written off, never shared, 
 put in the old brown suitcase 
 with the rusty hasp, under the bed. 

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