New Writing: two poems by Samuel Tongue

Samuel Tongue
Category: Writing

Every day this week we are posting a selection of works by recipients of the New Writers Awards in 2013, in anticipation of the publication of our New Writing Sampler which will take place this Thursday 30 January at the New Writers Showcase, Edinburgh's Summerhall .

First up are two poems from Samuel Tongue, who received the Callan Gordon Award in 2013. The Callan Gordon Award is open to short-story writers and poets between 18 and 35. It was set up to celebrate the life of Callan Gordon, a young Scottish Writer.

Check out two of Samuel's new poems from the forthcoming New Writing Sampler:


What is it Like to be a Herring Gull?

(After Thomas Nagel)


Circling the heavy church at the end of the street,

you see a cliff-stack far out in a grey Atlantic,


an inherited seascape sloshing inside your skull,

salting your nerves, your desire’s tidal pull.


Fat and imperious on rooftops, you laugh

down the chimneypots, my hearth


echoing with your uninvited call.

My father excuses himself. My tea cools


as I swallow his news.

The street heaves and rolls;


cherry blossom froths around the steps

and caught in the swell, a shopping bag pulses,


a jellyfish against the rail.

I throw my head back and call and call and call.


Why I Was So Bad at Clay-Pigeon Shooting


It was cold. It was raining. I was tired.

I cried ‘Pull!’ and tightened, tried to follow the whirring circle

to its apex, the point at which it would pause and begin its fall


my eye filled with dark mountain,

the grey curve of two heron

sweeping along the silver loch,

and the shotgun was an extension

of my ability to crush the world

in gunpowder and brass, and the recoil

went deeper than the soft socket of my shoulder. 


 Check back tomorrow for the next excerpt from the New Writing Sampler. Read more of our blogs about the New Writers Awards here.