My pulse rocked the couch. I had the shakes.
Each binge left bigger gaps in my head
And the people above could wake the dead
With their noise. Stop drinking, for both our sakes
My wife pleaded, and I could see her point.
I’m too hot. Where can a man find quiet?
I knew full well. Round the back of the estate,
Behind the newbuilds, I could start my treatment.
There’s a private pond and the trees – the trees
Form a sort of cocoon around the water.
Peace bunches up in the boughs. I’ve sat there
Long after dusk, alone, feeling my pulse
Travel down the rod and line. It stirs up the fish
From the calm, lets the heat ebb out of my flesh.
From Matthew Clegg’s debut collection West North East (Longbarrow Press, 2013). Listen to Matthew Clegg reading this poem on location in 2008: