Caroline Bird

Caroline Bird is a poet and playwright. She has six collections of poetry published by Carcanet. Her most recent collection, The Air Year, won the Forward Prize for Poetry 2020. Her fifth collection, In These Days of Prohibition, was shortlisted for the 2017 T.S. Eliot Prize and the Ted Hughes Award. A two-time winner of the Foyles Young Poets Award, her first collection Looking Through Letterboxes was published in 2002 when she was fifteen. She won an Eric Gregory Award in 2002 and was shortlisted for the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize in 2001 and the Dylan Thomas Prize in 2008 and 2010. She was one of the five official poets at the 2012 London Olympics.

Caroline Bird


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Caroline Bird shares the faces she makes when she's writing

Fri 12 March | 08:30 - 08:45 | FREE | StAnza Online


The Ground 

You land on a ridge, six-feet down the cliff 
and believe you have fallen from the dread 
summit and survived, you think, 
this is the ground.
until you notice the larks passing at eye-level,
drop a cufflink and fall 
fifty-feet into the open palm of another ridge,
deeper in, scratched, clothes torn, 
you’ve lost a shoe but you think 
this is the ground, 
I can bake that lasagne now 
till a kite gets snagged in your hair, 
your feet meet a plunging carpet 
now you’re hanging by your necklace 
from a branch thinking 
this is the ground, 
let’s buy a puppy
as you sit in your bracken chair,
as you fall in your chair like a lopped flower head 
face-planting  ­Yes! Ground! ­– in a tree,
wind-burnt from momentum, whip-
lashed by your own screams, oops, then oops, 
oops, straddling a lamp-post, a pillar, a shed, each time 
believing this is the ground, believing 
you’ve survived, falling, landing, falling out, 
who knows how long you’ve been travelling 
down this thing, incrementally, held in the loosening-
tightening fist of a giant with a featureless face.
Thud. At last 
I can put up that shelf. Make that baby. 
You lie and let your bones heal, looking up 
at the distance, experiencing plateau 
for the first time, cold, hard, real, the opposite 
of air. You shake like a prodigal astronaut. 
I could build a house on this, you think, 
staggering off. 

Caroline Bird

From The Air Year (Carcanet, 2020)

By kind permission of Carcanet Press Ltd, Manchester