Tuesday Poem: Kim Moore - How I Abandoned My Body To His Keeping

What happened sits in my heart like a stone.
You told me I’d be writing about it
all my life, when I asked
how to stop saying these things to the moon.
I told you how writing it makes the dark
lift and then settle again like a flock of birds.

You said that thinking of the past like birds
who circle each year will make the stone
in my chest heavy, that the dark
that settles inside me will pass. You say it
is over, you say that even the moon
can’t know all of what happened, that to ask

to forget is to miss the point. I should ask
to remember. I should open myself to the birds
who sing for their lives. I should tell the moon
how his skin was like smoke, his hand a stone
that fell from a great height. It
was not what I deserved. The year was dark

because he was there and my eyes were dark
and I fell to not speaking. If I asked
him to leave he would smile. Nothing in it
was sacred. And I didn’t look up. The birds
could have fallen from the sky like stones
and I wouldn’t have noticed. The moon

was there that night in the snow. The moon
was waiting the day the dark
crept into my mouth and left me stone
silent, stone dumb, when all I could ask
was for him to stop, please stop. The birds
fled to the trees and stayed there. It

wasn’t their fault. It was nobody’s fault. It
happened because I was still. The moon
sung something he couldn’t hear. The birds
in my heart silent for a year in the dark.
This is the way it is now, asking
for nothing but to forget his name, a stone

that I carry. It cools in my mouth in the dark
and the moon sails on overhead. You ask
about birds, but all I can think of is stones.

Copyright Kim Moore, with permission
(from The Art of Falling to be published by Seren, 1st April 2015)
Thanks to Josephine Corcoran for sharing this with me.

I love this poem.  There is such grief, 'The birds/ in my heart silent for a year in the dark', but also hope in the very act of writing 'I told you how writing it makes the dark/ lift'. Violence within relationships is often a theme in Kim's work.  There are layers of meaning in this poem I haven't even begun to penetrate yet, but can feel in the tone and the rhythm. It makes me think about how much of a poem's meaning hits us at an instinctive, visceral level rather than a linguistic one.  Kim is also a musician and I think this has a big influence on her work.

Kim Moore wins a lot of awards for her poetry (including the Gregory Award) - her first pamphlet 'If We Could Speak like Wolves' was a prize-winner - and I feel sure that her first full collection 'The Art of Falling', published by Seren in April, will be collecting accolades too.  She is a fresh, vigorous new voice in poetry, beginning to be quite a force up here in the north with readings and workshops.  She is also the new co-editor, with Andrew Forster, of the magazine Compass.

Look out for 'The Art of Falling' - it's going to be good  It's available for pre-order, released on the 1st of April.  This is what Seren has to say about it:-

"Kim Moore, in her lively debut poetry collection, The Art of Falling, sets out her stall in the opening poems, firmly in the North amongst 'My People': "who swear without knowing they are swearing - scaffolders and plasterers and shoemakers and carers - ". 'A Psalm for the Scaffolders' is a hymn for her father's profession. The title poem riffs on the many sorts of falling "so close to failing or to falter or to fill". The poet's voice is direct, rhythmic, compelling. These are poems that confront the reader, steeped in realism, they are not designed to soothe or beguile. They are not designed with careful overlays of irony and although frequently clever, they are not pretentious but vigorously alive."

The Tuesday Poets are a group of 28 poets from around the world.  We try to post a poem every Tuesday and take it in turns to edit the main website.  If you enjoyed Kim's poem, please click over to our main  hub and discover what the other Tuesday Poets are posting.  


  1. I agree Kathleen, and hope Kim will get accolades for this book. I'm very much looking forward to reading it. Fantastic poem, which gets better on each reading.


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