'Vial' by David Blake is Write Out Loud's Poem of the Week
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;
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
I breathe in the settling embers,
arms akimbo, glance to my own,
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