Great North Museum: Hancock Writing


Pushing rows of cloves into oranges, my thumb
is still numb as toothache, where their beaks

pressed in, broke off. Hung from ribbon,
a pomander cures itself in time. My mam

told me they can keep for years and here,
beside this diorama of stuffed birds, I wonder

if that’s true. Undressed from the skeins
of their bones, glass eyes plugged, they’re fresh

enough to fly, though blind. What a chorus
they might make, feet wired to the mount,

syrinxes plucked into song. And still the smell
of orange and clove, as the spelks that worry

the furrows of my yellowed thumbprint wait
for my skin to push them out.


Joanne Clement is currently undertaking a creative investigation into the relationship between poetry and art, considering viewpoint in the wood engravings of Thomas Bewick. Her PhD is supported by an AHRC Northern Bridge Studentship. The winner of a Northern Promise Award for poetry from New Writing North in 2012, Joanne has poems published by Forward, The Ofi Press, Black Light Engine Room and Butcher’s Dog. In 2014 she was shortlisted for the Melita Hume and Bridport Poetry prizes.