Potcake Poet’s Choice: Ann Drysdale, ‘Sleeping in Tongues’

Three of us breathing; me and dog and cat.
Awoken by a faint and plaintive mew,
I hold my own breath, ascertaining that
the sound comes from one of the other two.
I act upon an educated guess
and lay a hand on cat, who quickly twists
into a different pose of idleness
and settles, silent. But the sound persists.
So dog it is, who wheezes in a dream
that has bestowed on him the gift of tongues
and things both are, and are not, what they seem.
I let the captive air out of my lungs.
Three of us breathing, dog and cat and me;
companionable synchronicity.

Ann Drysdale writes: “This poem emerged from a situation that took a minute to happen and evolved into a sonnet that takes a minute to read. I can almost believe that it sprang fully-formed from my fingertips, now that the pile of sawdust, chippings and paintflakes generated by the making of one into the other has been swept under the carpet and forgotten.”

Ann Drysdale now lives in South Wales and has been a hill farmer, water-gypsy, newspaper columnist and single parent – not necessarily in that order. Her most recent volume of poetry, Vanitas, joined a mixed list of published writing, including memoir, essays and a gonzo guidebook to the City of Newport. Another collection is accreting nicely and is due to be published next year.

Her poems have been published in several of the Potcake Chapbooks:
Tourists and Cannibals
Rogues and Roses
Careers and Other Catastrophes
Families and Other Fiascoes
Houses and Homes Forever
… all available from Sampson Low for the price of a coffee.

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