Blast from the Past: Lorna Goodison

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Of course, you can’t be a good writer without reading good writing. In 2012 Jamaican-born poet Lorna Goodison, author of Guinea Woman: Selected Poems, Harvey River: A Memoir of my Mother and her People and a short story collection, By Love Possessed, was the Durham Book Festival Laureate and was commissioned by the festival and Durham University to create and present a new work: The Journey.

You can listen to Lorna reading her poem at a special event at last year’s festival on New Writing North’s SoundCloud site. You can also read The Journey below.

The Journey

We are six who bear this body away from the fierce,

who take kingdoms here on earth by force,

often we have fled from the violent.

Now we make final journey to a crag in a loop

of the Wear: Dunhome, where the lost dun cow

was found at rest, we carry our brother home.

Open coffin we shoulder, houses our Cuthbert.

Wonder worker, beloved servant leader, head,

good shepherd, caretaker of the flock, and the book.

Partial to the pretty obzocky duck; in all creation

nothing alien to him. Stones refused raise up

of their own accord to level up our path; we walk good

through fen and moor, along wild and rocky road

we transport his radiant remains, light and healing

ever active emanate from his sweet flesh.

He whom we bear aloft is clement force of mercy.

Pilgrim, should you stumble on your own journey

stretch forth your hand, here is help.

Lorna Goodison