Poetry Centre

Weekly Poem for 21 April 2008

  • Gags

    Up from the descending semis,
    Sean’s nan had the forest
    in her mouth, bracken
    plumbing her tongue.

    The strait’s liquids
    had changed a child’s sibil-
    ance to ancient
    occlusive stops.

    We called her Gags.
    My butty said he could
    understand the babble.
    I’m not sure.

    She was a leaf-
    thing, curled in her chair,
    waiting for a second
    turn to take her off.

    by Richard Marggraf Turley  

    From The Fossil-Box (Cinnamon, 2007).

    "I grew up in the Forest of Dean. 'Gags' was written as the final section in a longer poem called 'Vorrest', which explores the idea of Dean as part of my 'impending past'. Gags was the nan of my childhood best butty (forest dialect); to our eyes she seemed as old and strange as the forest itself."

    Richard Marggraf Turley won First Prize in the Keats-Shelley Prize, 2007. His poems have appeared in journals and magazines. Richard was born in the Forest of Dean and moved to Wales when he was seven. Richard's co-authored volume, Whiteout, appeared with Parthian in 2006. His first solo collection, The Fossil-Box, was published by Cinnamon in 2007. He is also the author of two books on the Romantic poets. Recent radio interviews include an appearance on Radio 3's The Verb, presented by Ian McMillan.

    Cinnamon Press is a young, fast-growing small press based in North Wales and publishing writers from Wales, the UK and internationally, as well as the poetry journal Envoi. The list is mainly poetry, but also includes some fiction and cross-genre books.