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First stage winner in The Poetry Business Book and Pamphlet Competition.

Pam Thompson is a university lecturer and lives in Leicester. She has published two pamphlets: Spin (Waldean Press 1999) and Parting the Ghosts of Salt (Redbeck Press 2000). Her work has been published in many literary magazines and anthologies and has won prizes in several competitions. She performs with a group of poets called Inky Fish.

‘Haunting, solid, memorable.’
– Carol Ann Duffy

‘The tone of voice and the rhythm are just right.’ – Wendy Cope


2. The Museum

There’s nothing to wake; they’re long dead,
just bones of the Brachiosaurus,
hauled upright, as if it were feasting
on trees in a primeval forest.
Trilobites are boxed; the shrew, glassy-eyed
like the bear; twisted on stiff wires, the hare.
Pretend moonlight sticks to labels
on cabinets where moths pretend to fly.
Paintings upstairs have to be guessed at.
That is, until the eye with its night sight widens
at Lizzy Siddal, beatific in furs;
a Cavalier on a horse, dark on dark;
smudge of moon by Samuel Palmer.
Anyone can touch them now;
lick a finger, alter a master’s design.
Miniature dragnets of light sweep the chair
of an attendant who, at home, is not asleep
but surfing for a holiday in Costa Rica.
The café is distinctly closed;
smells of coffee, lavender floor polish.
There is no-one to wake. No-one who stays;
no-one to shake from sleep at a table,
head on arms like a child bored with school.
No-one to paint; no-one to cover with furs.