North of the Somme, the birds stopSinging, sensing silence is the anthemFit for no-man’s-land, for foetalBodies drowned in mud, drapedLike weekend washing across linesOf viper wire. Spent shells
Nest in craters, nothing blueAnd speckled waiting for a tapping breakBut everywhere the litter of limbsAnd bayonets red with stranger’s blood.In frontline trenches, lovesickSoldiers pencil notes as time
Ticks towards the whistlesFor over-the-top commands, aboutThe time a police commissionerOn the Rue Taitbout isTearing down Modigliani nudes,Affronted by full frontal pubic hair.
from Unequal Thirds (Peterloo, 2006)
Tim Cunningham's poem "Female Nude, circa 1916" comes from his second collection Unequal Thirds (Peterloo, 2006). His first collection was Don Marcelino's Daughter (Peterloo, 2001) which was favourably reviewed in the TLS
by Peter Reading. Adrian Mitchell has written "Tim Cunningham's poems
are as various and fascinating as the animals in Noah's Ark. He has a
most musical ear, a keen eye and an open heart." Tim Cunningham was
born in Limerick in 1942 and has lived in Limerick, Tipperary, Dublin,
the U.S.A. and London. At present he lives in Billericay.
was founded by Harry Chambers, still the Publishing Director, in 1976.
Its masthead is “poetry of quality by new or neglected poets”. Peterloo
publishes between 8 and 10 volumes of poetry a year, runs an annual
poetry competition – the 2008 competition will be the 24th – and, since
1999, an annual International Poetry Festival.
"From time to time it has seemed to me that the Peterloo Poets series
is a haven of poetic sanity in a world of modish obfuscation."Michael Glover, British Book News