By Pauline Yarwood
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Pauline Yarwood’s poems have the freshness and energy of someone speaking directly to you, someone you want to listen to. She writes of encounters with friends, strangers, family, herself, alert to the undercurrents of thought and emotion. These she brings to the surface with wit and a probing and disarming honesty, as if, in her own words ‘what wasn’t said isn’t enough.’
I really don’t want to talk to you.
I see your face light up
when you walk into the supermarket
and make a bee-line for my aisle.
I duck behind the beer shelves
head down, fumble with my list,
feign preoccupation until my hands shake.
I know you’re eager to go through it all again,
say how grateful you are,
how you’d have died if I’d not been there,
how much you owe me.
There’s no need. I can’t do it.
I’d have to tell you how much nearer death
you were than you imagined,
that I knew you were choking,
about to give up, and that I’d waited,
waited for someone else to step in,
someone bigger, stronger,
someone who did not know grief,
but no-one moved, and only then,
as you flopped forwards,
did I grab you from behind,
put my hands in position,
jerk upwards, jerk again,
desperate now that you should live
for by this time, how could I if you did not?