3 poems by Pam Thompson


The vans arrive

before we finish packing boxes 

in the spare bedroom. 

We can’t remember where 

we’ve put the child seat

but why we want it is a mystery –

she left home years ago.

I’m certain I took down all the curtains, 

but there they are, up again, looking 

just-bought-and –ironed 

Why are you wearing

the suit you bought for our wedding?

We have to go – our new house is waiting. 

We nearly collide with two

removal men on the stairs.

They walk straight through us.


This window’s propped open with a towel.

The wind sounds worse than it is, like water,

or traffic. Saturday, 6.30am. The trees out there

are shaking themselves free of the week.

In the courtyard, boxes of shrubs

half-heartedly planted. Slate roofs with

a fine powder of moss. What look like

seed-pods are catkins, hardly noticeable at first.

It’s a subterranean world swaying in plain sight, 

weekend green with kelp and seaweed – even

the birds have noticed with soundwaves from 

their altered songs travelling through this different element.

Extraordinary roots called branches grasping

at air unable to stem its fast flow.


         In the first year of secondary

she wanted handwriting 

like rows of neat stitches

a cropped furry hairstyle 

       at work she wanted her own office

a window that other people couldn’t stand in front of

a pass to get out of meetings

      Lately she’s wanted Japan, all of it –

its chaos and its ritual

its numerous floating islands –

but most of all she wants

a pale green beach house

not a chalet

which the sea visits

and that’s not on any map

About the contributor

Pam Thompson is a writer and lecturer based in Leicester. Her publications include The Japan Quiz ( Redbeck Press, 2009) and Show Date and Time (Smith | Doorstop, 2006) and Strange Fashion (Pindrop Press, 2017). She is a 2019 Hawthornden Fellow.

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  1. Sunday, mid morning a comfortable armchair, Shostakovich on the radio and reading Pam’s poems; what more could one want? Maybe that pale green beach house that soon may be claimed by rising seas.


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