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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > October 2017 > INTENSIVE WRITING


Alison Chisholm analyses a poem that starkly evokes an emergency hospital admission

Some poems bristle with intensity, where the compression of language combines with an edginess of content to produce a powerful piece of writing that may be difficult to study, as it weighs on the reader. Liz Poyser, of Southport, Merseyside, was moved to write such a poem following an emergency admission to hospital. She describes it as ‘such a busy place, but so lonely’ and says that the writing was rooted in fear and loneliness.


sterile whiteness sterile sheets sterile clock on sterile wall Tick-tock, tick-tock Time-of-death, time-of-death sterile waiting steady pulsing machine beeps artificial heart beat tendrils from a mask carry artificial breath lines on monitor scramble up collapse down an erratic scribble of life a wordless poem and tuneless song a vacant faced nurse enters tweaks wires scribbles illegible notes then leaves …her padded footfall apologetic, disturbing the air, retreating, until the clock takes up the story Tick-tock, tick-tock Time-of-death, time-of-deathwhiteness waiting Sterile prayer

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Competition supplement! Over 230 writing competitions to enter up to June 2018, and more than £430,000 in writing prizes! Win! Your book published by Lulu. Write your way around the world - how far writing competitions can take you. Star interview - The Commitment: Roddy Doyle on thirty years at the top of his game. The latest opportunities to get published and see your name in print.

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