28 March 2020

Poem of the Week: ‘The Drawing Room’ by Rebecca Watts

Posted by John Clegg

Our second Poem of the Week is from Rebecca Watts; her first collection, The Met Office Advises Caution, was published in 2016, and shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Prize for Best First Collection. A follow-up, Red Gloves (from which this poem is taken), is forthcoming later this year.

The Drawing Room

Another lovely, dark-green papered wall –
camellia-patterned, ferned and leafed –
has been spoiled by having to bear
portraits of gilded men. Oh, they
were famous, or

they weren’t, and my sneeze
is a complex
amalgam of reverence
and allergy.
They lived; were painted; died,

and now I’d like to read my book
without them being there. I’d like to stare
at a lovely, dark-green papered wall and say
to nobody: camellia, fern, leaf.