Young Poet: Grace Marshall

I am a student of early modern history from south London. My poetry is inspired by Gerard Manley Hopkins and flarf.


I saw a man on the edge of the sea one black morning.
No sand, just stones, and me on the Esplanade.
He paused at the lap of the waves and surveyed.
Where I stood on the grey I could tell his upset
Too far from his wife who rose and fell further out.
Doubting the beach, he made his way to her,
The small warming comfort in that dark butter,
And with limbs to trace circles around each other.
Just as in the estuary, my father, and me,
A moon on the mobile of the crook of his arm.
Sometimes on walks he tickles my ear with a fern.


Today with arms tied like a bow at the back of my head I cut my hair
very short. It’s domestic warfare – my mum won’t care for it –
but she can snare that girl in the glass who told me to do it!
Some invincible lassie, sun-wet and wind-rosy, it took
me one look to see I could do her no harm, no nick, no blade,
no shorn braid would make this one squirm. No, not she –
just in from a lent afternoon across fields
who fixed me in glass with gaze of evergreen veteran youth,
with wet nostril and long meat-bound tooth, she who coarse and shining
with salt in brown light, with far renown youth of award and birth right –
would have her way. I went down to hunt in the kitchen for shears.