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Emergency Rations

Emergency Rations

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Cliff Yates is fresh like the very first crack of dawn is fresh: unique, unrepeatable, full of promise.' – Ian McMillan

Cliff Yates follows his successful first full collection Henry's Clock with this new set of poems – often surreal, inconseqential, never boring, always a delight.


No, I don’t read French.
Do you have a translation?
I’m from Birmingham.
Let’s go for a walk in the woods. It’s raining.

Bring the billiard table.
I have the balls in my trouser pockets.
Can you manage?
Here, let me hold the door.

Yes I agree, the rain. Did I mention
the importance of parks in the black country?
It’s not that interesting. Mind
the rosa rugosas, their thorns,
and the climber with the orange hips.

All the other woods are memories
preparing us for this one.

If I tell anyone she’ll kill me.
No, really – a dart through the forehead.
Look at my hands – people call it stigmata
but really it’s darts.

We quarrelled in the autumn.
We quarrelled about the milk.
In the morning she left, took the bed with her.