Guest Poem by Greta Stoddart

Greta’s 3 books have won or been shortlisted for prizes such as the Geoffrey Faber, Forward and Costa. A radio poem Who’s there? was BBC Pick of the Week and shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award. Her 4th book Fool will be published by Bloodaxe in September 2022. She lives in Devon where she teaches for the Poetry School.

A Glass of Water

So many ways of looking
at a glass of water –

why is one clearly not enough?

Because there are many ways to look
and it’s a different kind of sustenance

we’re after when we look at a glass of water

and maybe there’s no such thing as failure

when we look
because our eyes cannot fail us –

or rather no one can say for sure
what it is they’re seeing

and yet it’s there before our eyes:

if we know anything we know
here is a glass in which water lies.

Why look at a thing again and again?
What are we trying to get right?

And though I know it’s nothing

like the man who tried countless times
to make a light bulb

I’d like to hold one of those
failures in my hand –

see what might be done with it;
it might not have anything to do with light.