Born in West Yorkshire at six o’clock in the morning Thom Laycock has been trying to get some sleep ever since. He has adapted to living in Scotland for the past twenty years by drinking and swearing copiously. He studied literature and philosophy at the University of Stirling and graduated in 2003. Thom is not entirely sure what has happened since, but reassures himself that a lot of it was quite interesting. In 2010 he was granted the New Writers Award by the Scottish Book Trust for which he wrote a short biographical note that ends here.
I remember the goat in my
neighbour’s garden skinning the tree
alive all down one side
hanging itself against leash and pole
forelegs stepping on the air
leech tongue molesting the strips of bark
its automatic jaw
and the squares of its pupils
were regular as instinct.
the goat is gone now
its owner dead of a heart attack
and his son - addict, escapist - slung
a rope over the rafters
noosed his neck stepped
into the slack, and that was that.
but this is this: a tree standing
ten years bolder
gnarly bark grown back
to cover up the raw works
where it bled so much sap,
forming the shape of a door
I wouldn’t dare open,
or even knock.
"Unbelievable and brilliant. Thanks so much. Winning this award has made me look back over my work with both a new appreciation and a tougher critical eye. The other eye is pointing toward the future, which might make me look like I have a lazy eye."