'Vial' by David Blake is Write Out Loud's Poem of the Week

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The new Write Out Loud Poem of the Week is ‘Vial’ by David Blake. David is in his mid-20s, and lives in Bristol. He has been interested in poetry “since primary school”, and began writing it again at university. Until very recently he has regarded himself purely as a "page poet", but has started reading his poems out in public at "various humble gatherings". His all-time favourite poet is "probably Edward Thomas". Here are his answers to our quick Q&A: 




What got you into writing poetry?

I've always had a love of words.  I started to become interested in poetry as early as primary school and it came through my general passion for creative writing.  Then I begun to ignore poetry for a while as I saw it as something which always 'had to rhyme'.  There was, however, a period in my life around the beginning of my time at university when I really became turned onto it, simply through the discovery that words could mean a whole lot more in the context of a poem, and that rhyming wasn't the be-all and end-all.  After this I began to experiment more and more with word-play, texture and metre and the words began to flow.


How long have you been writing?

About six or seven years, on and off.  I occasionally go through dry periods where I find I'm forcing myself to write when the resolve isn't there.  But conversely there are spells where I'm quite prolific and can't really explain precisley what this is down to.  I think it may be a seasonal thing... I often write a lot about the weather, for instance.


Do you go to any open-mic nights?

Yes, but I've only recently begun to.  For a long time I convinced myself that my own poetry was more for the written page than to be read out; I saw it as more of a graphological thing than something you can actually lift off the page and present to an audience.  I was passionate about reading the work of other poets however, and this has eventually turned me onto to trying out some of my own pieces to various humble gatherings.


What’s your favourite poet/poem?

There are a few poets that mean a lot to me.  I like UA Fanthorpe, Roger McGough and Moniza Alvi.  My all-time favourite is probably Edward Thomas.  The subtlety and layers in his work, and the era in which he was writing - sitting astride a fence between the Victorian age and the modern era - lend a depth to his poetry that I can admire from more than one angle.  I really couldn't say what my favourite poem is ... far too many.


You're cast away on a desert island. What's your luxury?


I guess I should really be saying a pen and paper!  Or something to record ideas on, at least.  Another part of me says simply, a large, well-stocked fridge.





by David Blake


With just enough light in the sky to take out

the newspapers of yesterday

and arrange them, padding in

the galvanised bin;

smoke twists

in a neighbour's garden -

I cup hand and call,

remark upon the vagaries of the weather

and the recent tree

felled on Cobb Hill.


In response I get a half-turn

and shoulder shrug, grunt

of some approximate affirmative,

and the trudge on bitten concrete

as painted door swings

clicks closed.

I breathe in the settling embers,

arms akimbo, glance to my own,

palm-shadowed indoor.


On a locket on the counter

the liquid lurks like summer scent,

but splash it on and I'm burnt

by the cold slip of human heart.

It's him, and it's me,

a day sterilised, caught and labelled;

we're both hung out like the washing

on a dew-flecked

morning line.



◄ 'You Should Have been Here Yesterday' by Suki Spangles is Write Out Loud Poem of the Week

Deadline nears on £400 Havant poetry competition ►


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Cynthia Buell Thomas

Tue 14th Jun 2016 12:04

I've been off-line for weeks. I'm delighted with this so-deserved recognition of your work. Your 'diction' skills are outstanding in all that you write.

The fridge would soon be empty. What about a keen knife and a whet stone to keep it that way?

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Laura Taylor

Mon 6th Jun 2016 16:17

Yep, cannae argue with what's already been said :) Great piece this.

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suki spangles

Mon 6th Jun 2016 05:18

Congratulations on winning Poem of the Week, David. The subtle humour too works well. Nice one!

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Graham Sherwood

Sun 5th Jun 2016 17:41

I endorse this and repeat the comments I made on it when first posted. Lovely lines. Very well done!

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steve pottinger

Sun 5th Jun 2016 12:15

A great poem, David, and a beautiful observation on the minutiae of everyday life.

I commend your choice of a well-stocked fridge, too. No reason why poets shouldn't be practical!

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