Their eyes are grey. My eyes are grey My wishes are the colour of the dead in numbers My dying, undelivered wishes. Ours Would somebody come running. Would they
Prototypes of human sorrow. Protest, despair and detachment Blank, tearful retreat from mother Mother, Baby. Stranger, Baby. Baby Alone People afraid. People terrorised Banished from (rightful?) birthplace, torn from one another Blood. Horror. I didn’t know. You did know. Stand up
I was completing a form that said rate my unhealthy emotions Why. To help myself live better If that is some kind of duty, or project Who murders you and who will you murder Some people don’t put question marks at the ends of questions any more In case anyone should think they’d be so idealistic as to expect an answer Then, looking reproachfully at her mother, she demanded ‘Where was you, Mummy? Where was you?’
Where was you, Mummy As when from a stable place you come unbalanced I did it once by accident, now I do it deliberately, in plain sight In decorated sight
Your pain, your pain resonates at a different frequency I’m not sure it even resonates. I cannot tune into it anyway It is nothing like my pain which has its precedents in art and literature Which is worsened by my intellectual appreciation of its finer points Didn’t we always suspect the pain of intelligent people was truly the most painful Forgive me quickly/forget me quickly I know that I must forget you Is hate a viable form of activism The place where hate of the self meets hate of the other – for example – who claims that land
I wrote: The sea! The sea! as if that might be a solution The sea is somewhere anything can happen You know when two seas come together there is deep pain and pleasure at the border. Tremor of conjoined hopes. Agony of separation after mixing. Let it flow I sat down. Blood all over me. I wrote GUILT 90% SHAME 90% RAGE 90% FEAR 90% LOVE––
(I never once dreamed of you Why did I never And now I have a question for you, will you answer? And there you were all this time, in the dead ground.)
Emily Berry's debut book of poems Dear Boy (Faber & Faber, 2013) won the Forward Prize for Best First Collection and the Hawthornden Prize. She is a contributor to The Breakfast Bible (Bloomsbury, 2013), a compendium of breakfasts.