Fiona Sampson – Two poems

The Nature of Gothic  

What does it want
this cool stone
span this bridge
on air what
does it ask
of us who come
here asking
it our questions
who move round
its roots our voices
lick the silence
of its vault
our prayers make
currents stir
in the tall air
that asks us to see
something the roof
of the world
perhaps expects
some gravity
to open in us
some reflection
or an answer
our need stilled
a moment but oh
stone shifts
into itself
it disappears
and reappears
the way time slips
behind a cloud
then reappears
having been lost
to us and we
were lost too
among the stones
of its forest.


Westron Wind

When the trees sough
all the house fills
with their breathing
and we rest in
their giant breath

that goes on without
end that we
breath in and with
being lifted
among the trees

as we were always
lifted before
we were born
before the woods
even breath after

breath lifting
the valley from
itself lifting
those other days
out of today.



Fiona Sampson has been published in thirty-seven languages and received international prizes in Macedonia, the US, India and Bosnia; however her first award for poetry, when an Oxford undergraduate, was the Newdigate Prize. Her latest collection is The Catch (Penguin Random House).
Photo credit: Mark Bassett