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Featured poem - September 2009

This piece of writing was selected by the staff at the Scottish Poetry Library which receives Foundation funding from the Scottish Arts Council

Rare Opportunity

Making the bath is a slow process.
She looks at him each time she pours a pail.

He rests his back against a tree.
His dirty hands pluck at his coat.

How many nights in his absence,
the thought of his skin.

The water burns but she does not feel
anything. She lifts and pours.  

Suddenly he is around her, behind her.
Inside her something bursts like a small bird’s egg.

Rain hisses in the fire,
rings the surface of the bath;

circles within circles,

JL Williams

This poem is part of a collection of poems that won an Edwin Morgan Travel Bursary which was awarded by the Arts Trust of Scotland

About the poet

JL Williams

JL Williams was born in New Jersey and studied at Wellesley College with the poet Frank Bidart and on the MLitt in Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow.  Her poetry has been published in journals including The Wolf, Poetry Salzburg Review, Brand and Poetry Wales and is scheduled to appear in Fulcrum and Stand.  Williams was recently awarded an Edwin Morgan Travel Bursary from the Scottish Arts Trust and will travel to the Aeolian Isles in September 2009 to write a collection inspired by Ovid’s Metamorphoses.  http://jlwpoetry.googlepages.com

Inspiration for the Poem

This poem is from a series on the theme of love in the midst of war inspired by the relationship between Achilles and Patroclus in the Iliad and more particularly by the painting "Achilles Lamenting the Death of Patroclus" by Gavin Hamilton, on display at the National Gallery of Scotland.

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