Poetry Centre

Helen Dawes and Fiona Sampson

  • Fiona_Sampson.jpg

    Professor Helen Dawes’s research focuses on optimizing performance of everyday activities through rehabilitation and on enabling physically active lifestyles in adults and children with disorders affecting movement such as stroke, Parkinson's, cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis.

    Writing about her poem and Helen’s research, Fiona Sampson comments:

    Helen Dawes’s team look at conditions that affect the nervous system and muscular control.  I have long been interested in such issues: I used to be a violinist and spent hours a day concentrating on precision of movement; but at the same time I would say I am at least mildly dyspraxic. My handwriting has been sneered at all my life!  I’m also aware that those who live in villages like my own are at disproportionate risk of Parkinson’s Disease; my assumption is that this is because of the use of chemicals in industrial farming. Combine this with the sense of atoms as constantly in the motion and you begin to have a feeling of the countryside’s trembling intensity.

  • The deer racing across a field…

                for Helen Dawes

    The deer racing across a field
    of the same clay and tallow
    colour they are - if they are,
    or could they be tricks of the light? -
    must feel themselves being poured
    and pouring through life.  We're not built

    but become: trembling columns
    of apprehension that ripple
    and pass those ripples to and fro
    with the world that shakes around us -
    it too is something poured
    and ceaselessly pouring itself.

    February shakes the fields,
    trembles in each yellow willow.

    Fiona Sampson